Chapter 2: The Stretched Soul Makes Music
The first question:
I have just recently been helped to discover that nobody is perfect and to let go of my fantasy of a perfect person. Now I am left with my feelings of loving and hating the same person and I find it difficult to live with such intense, seemingly polar opposites in myself. Anything to do?
The first thing to remember is that the idea of perfection is the root cause of all neurosis. Humanity has not been healthy because of the idea of perfection. Man has suffered immensely, and unnecessarily. Erase this word perfection from your vocabulary.
“Perfection” means you are creating a tension in your life between that which is and that which should be - and that tension is what creates schizophrenia. You become split; you are no more one, you become two. And you will never again be one because there is no end to your imagination. You can always imagine a better state of affairs. Wherever you are, you can always have your goal somewhere there on the horizon, and the horizon is never achieved.
You remain unfulfilled - not because life makes it difficult for you to be fulfilled; life is all for your fulfillment. You remain unfulfilled because of your imagination. Life is ready to deliver all that you need, this very moment, but your idea of perfection becomes a barrier. Then you cannot love, then you cannot live, then you cannot sing, then you cannot dance. All celebration will disappear from your life; you will be pathological. And that’s what has been taught by the so-called moralists and the so-called religious down the ages. For thousands of years man has been conditioned to be neurotic. Joy is when you accept yourself as you are. Joy is a function of immense acceptance.
“Perfection” means you reject yourself. And remember, when you reject yourself you naturally reject others too. A perfectionist is hard upon himself and is hard upon others too. He cannot relax and he cannot allow anybody else to relax. Let-go is impossible for him, and he will condemn anybody who is living a relaxed life.