Confessions of a Spiritual Perfectionist
by Matt Kahn
My friends and I have a running joke. We like to say, “I am not a perfectionist, but I’m working on it.” This light-hearted one-liner is a bird’s eye view into the infrastructure of intensity I lived in during the early developmental years of my spiritual journey. To the best of my ability, I forged into inner explorer mode, eager to glean each insight and accomplish each milestone to the point where I was so worried about getting it wrong that I wasn’t able to enjoy the perfection of my evolution. Perhaps this rings true for you as well.
While all of us living on planet Earth are empaths of varying degrees of awareness, embodiment, and integration, the majority of empaths who are aware of their energetic sensitivities are also recovering spiritual perfectionists. Because an energetically sensitive being has an inferior ego, or conditioning fed by low self-esteem, it is nearly instinctive to engage the endless potential of the Universe with an ongoing fear of making a mistake, doing something wrong, worrying about missing a window of opportunity or being left behind the highest curve of expansion.
I site these examples as experiences I have had and survived, only to discover a Universe operating by such a level of perfection and grace it is categorically impossible to ever step outside of the spotlight of your unfolding destiny. Often times, when the ego hears of such a perfection, it feels defeated by the will of the Universe, as if it’s competing with the Cosmos for your undivided attention. All too often, the ego only feels useful if it believes it controls everything. When it discovers a depth of alignment beyond the grip and grit of personal control, it mopes in a state of uselessness as if it plays no purpose in life’s incredible journey.
Since everything is a unique and equal expression of one eternal truth, the ego plays a pivotal role in your evolution, albeit not the role it imagines or wishes to portray.
As you awaken, your ego’s job is to unravel in order to create space for the soul to emerge. It’s as if the ego has parked its car in the numbered space of your energy field, unaware that it is momentarily parked in that spot, until the soul is ready to move its vessel into position. While the ego might adopt a belief in being the caretaker of the parking spot, even working tirelessly to keep it clean and clear of debris, it is maintaining the integrity of a parking space so the soul has a place to be parked. Upon finding out this surprising twist of fate, the ego can often become territorial with the parking space of your energy field, even perceiving the soul as an invasion to fend off. It’s not that ego refuses to let go, as much as ego delays letting go until it feels as if it has gotten everything perfect. In reality, no matter how perfectly the ego does its dance, it always imagines an even higher level of perfection to attain, which perpetuates the tendency of holding on to its belief in control. Using this analogy, the ego asks the soul to be patient as it feverishly cleans the parking space for its arrival, always finding some pebble to move around as it works to get everything just right.
"...the ego asks the soul to be patient as it feverishly cleans the parking space for its arrival, always finding some pebble to move around as it works to get everything just right."
Even if the ego were to imagine getting everything perfect, its role now shifts into the same amount of effort to maintain the perfection it worked so hard to cultivate. Because it will never be free of the nonstop effort of chasing or maintaining perfection until it lets go, the more often the repetitive tendencies of ego are openly met with relaxed loving attention, the easier a transition can occur where the ego exits the parking lot to allow the soul to move into place.
In order to assist in your transition out of the perfectionistic patterns of ego and into the glory of your soul’s true essence, here a few helpful tips to aid in the process:
1. You are always doing everything correctly, even when you think you’re getting it wrong.
While the ego believes achievement occurs as a result of doing things correctly, the soul understands that both right and wrong are merely ways of interpreting the nature of outcomes. The soul knows that every experience is correct since it brings you into communion with the exact emotions needing to be felt in order to resolve the past and inspire the awareness of greater insights. It’s never a matter of seeing something wrong or right, but how much time you are meant to spend percolating in various emotional states in order to access the gift of expansion.
While the ego believes doing things in a more correct order will help it gain access to more positive feelings in a shorter amount of time, the soul abides in the awareness of truth -- knowing you are meant to feel, think, believe, and choose exactly as you will to build up the momentum created in states of repression and discomfort in order to catapult into the opposite spectrum of higher energetic and emotional states. If you ping-pong back down, it is only to discover greater wounds to be healed, which builds up pressure to accelerate you into even higher moments of expansion than before. This means, if you take the time to be at peace with exactly the way things are and have played out, life will guide you exactly where you wish to be, as long as you allow the Universe to work on its preferred timeline of events.
"...if you take the time to be at peace with exactly the way things are and have played out, life will guide you exactly where you wish to be..."
2. You may not get what you want, but you will always feel the way you desire.
This might blow a giant cannonball through the old understanding of the law of attraction, but it’s worth deconstructing in order to give you fresh perspective and space to breathe. Imagine something that you want to attract into your reality. Notice that it is an object that has been associated with a belief that bringing this into your reality will also bring with it all the positive emotional states you wish to feel more often. Because an energetic healing period is the time you are meant to spend in lower states as a way of building momentum and skyrocketing into higher states, there is no inherent connection between what you want and how you hope to feel. It is merely a limiting spiritual belief fed by an assumption that you will feel differently once your personal circumstances appear differently. In truth, you are destined to feel much better, most likely before the logistics of your circumstances may be ready to shift. It’s not as if the Universe doesn’t wish to give you what you want, but it works in accordance with delivering to you exactly what you need, in order to become who you were born to be.
Ultimately, the process of envisioning different circumstances is only meant to get you in touch with how you wish to feel. Once established, the Universe brings to you all the encounters and moments of healing to help you inevitably feel as you’ve envisioned. When aligned with the soul, you are able to imagine better circumstances as a foreshadowing of intuitive knowing when not needing different experiences to permit different feelings. When incubating in the ego, you only imagine feeling better once your life circumstances change to your ego’s exact specifications. When you are able to honor what you want, while accepting that it may not be the very thing you need in order to feel how much better you’re already destined to feel as more of your healing journey is completed, an alignment with a greater depth of maturity helps unravel beliefs of superstition within the ego’s grip.
3. The Universe isn’t fragile.
How often do you tip-toe around in your reality, hoping not to disturb the sacred ground of existence with limiting ideas, over thinking, or the triggering of negative emotions? While there is much benefit to being tactful with your words, actions, and responses, you are living out the necessary highs and lows of your evolution in a very durable reality. A reality that is dressed up as a planet that has survived ice ages, volcanic explosions, and even held space for the arrival of meteor showers can surely endure the impact of your most limiting thoughts.
Especially if needing to be deprogrammed from old paradigm beliefs in the law of attraction, you are likely to think that any degree of imperfection will cause the Universe to frown upon your behavior and delay the arrival of your deepest desires. When trying to “get everything right” as a way of seducing the Universe to give you more of the things you want, it is a moment of inauthenticity conveyed through expressions of spiritual materialism that obstructs the vantage point of your clearest view.
"When you understand that you...do not live in a fragile Universe, you are well on your way to recovering from the pitfalls of spiritual perfectionism."
The Universe is not fragile and remains as indestructible as the destiny that unfolds throughout each passing breath. You may need to make fear-based choices in order to build up courage and resonate with more inspired options, or spend time in tumultuous circumstances until you are ready to step into the unknown; but isn’t that what the play of life is about? Life is a living journey of expansion, where you are becoming aware of all that you know and remembering all that you are — one incremental choice at a time.
Your life is a work of art in progress. As most artists will tell you, it’s impossible to bring the magic of art to life without initially making a mess.
When you understand that you cannot make a mistake, do not require life to bring you different circumstances in order to feel better about yourself, and do not live in a fragile Universe, you are well on your way to grounding your empathic energy and recovering from the pitfalls of spiritual perfectionism.
Once each day isn’t a series of fear-based rituals or constantly checking things off your endless spiritual to-do list, you are able to meet the mystery of your existence as openly and authentically as it always meets you. From this space, you are able to see the importance of each momentary milestone and explore the infinite spectrum of personal experience without anything to manage, remember, control, or keep straight. This is where the immaculate potential of a spiritual journey truly begins.