Perfection and the Never Good Enough Perspective

Essential to First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble awareness is the concept of competition and defense. In that awareness, I’m ever seeking that which is “better” – never arriving at perfection, “best,” or even “good enough.” There is always something or someone better.

One might say that bubble awareness embodies the essence of the 7 Deadly Sins. These “sins” point out the comparative nature of the bubble. First, I define “sin” as “short of the mark” or “less than perfect.” (Wikipedia) I have some favorites:

Greed seems to me to illustrate the essence of the “never good enough perspective” – I define greed as:

a selfish and excessive desire for more of something than is needed. (Webster)

From this perspective, more is always better than less. I, you, they can always do better. “Enough” sits out there in a time that can never arrive an achievable goal that can never be achieved. Think Escher’s Penrose Stairs drawing.

I’ve been guilty of stuffing my stomach with far more than “is needed” then felt hungry afterwards. Sounds a lot like gluttony, another of the 7 deadly sins:

the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. (Wikipedia)

And yet, even when over-indulged there is a sense that it’s not quite enough. My lust for more and better does not like to hear the words “diet” and “budget.” I think of gluttony as lack on steroids. I wastefully indulge and consume as a defense against a sense of an ever-growing void.

And then there is envy, defined as:

a sad or resentful covetousness towards the traits or possessions of someone else. (Wikipedia)

“I hate her because she’s so beautiful.” My envy makes my life appear to come up short – lacking – compared to an impossible standard that is someone else.  Then I defend my perception of lack by externalizing it with feeling. Envy is a hole that gets deeper the more I work at filling the one next to it.

Sometimes the sense of lack motivates me to take action to correct a perceived shortcoming. In the end, however, because I fundamentally believe in lack, I’ll never attain the level of happiness, joy, wealth, and etc. that I think someone else has. Why? Because that “someone else” is MY imagining of “them” – not them.

What if I Do “Lack Consciousness” on Purpose?

These “sins” illustrate a fundamental and essential element of bubble awareness: competition. The bubble perspective is one of lack – compared to wholeness. I even imagine my mythical “wholeness” as short of whatever is “above,” “beyond,” or “better” than it. “What is beyond the edge of the universe?” From this imagined perspective, every goal has another goal beyond it – forever short of.

I defend this perspective by acknowledging lack as a fact in an unlimited universe. Sound crazy? Yeah, I though so, too. Until I remembered that this “short of perfection” thing is what gives me an experience of separation from ONENESS. In other words – dammit – it’s my desire and intention!

Thus, the usefulness of getting to know and accept myself. As I gain a handle on who I am, I begin to appreciate my intention to experience something less than all. That I like, need, and intend the separation that forms the foundation of comparison. From that lack-within-wholeness perspective, everything falls into place – one cohesive universe of infinite separate parts.

A world of sin. Just as I intend it to be. Egad!

Intention and Fulfillment

No matter how determined the baby is, it won’t derive nourishment from sucking its thumb. No matter how determined an intention may be, it can’t fulfill a want without an appropriate action.

My Intention turns What into Why

You may believe you know what you want and how to get it. Yet, when frustrations come, you may not know to ask why you didn’t get what you wanted. Once I establish routine patterns of thoughts and actions, questioning them becomes difficult. We may live with routine frustration and failure, never knowing why we hurt or how we lost our sense of purpose. Our behaviors tell more about us than our thoughts and feelings. Yet, once acceptance of failure and frustration have been implemented there seems no need to question them – “It simply is what it is.”

There is always an intention with every action, though you may not be aware of it. The results of your intentions and actions is feedback to your understanding.

Sometimes I interpret feedback as frustration. Yet, frustration and failure need not be the focus. Understanding your intentions helps you accept accountability for them. Meditate on these four questions to illuminate your hidden intentions:

  • What do I need and deny in this experience?
  • How does this experience illustrate that need and denial?
  • Why do I need and deny this?
  • Who am I because of my need and denial?

The answers to why we think, feel, and do as we do may stem from one cause, one specific intention. Knowing that cause is the smoking gun of opportunity, which offers us power over frustration and failure! Intentions may be a natural characteristic of life, yet, their fulfillment requires a clearer understanding of them.

When I question why I believe I am who I am, I reveal my intention, and the frustration and failure I felt transforms into –

I love who I am.

A Relationship Between Perspective and Intention

Inside my First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble, perspective and intention entwine in a dance I experience as reality. Sometimes that reality doesn’t work out like I think it should. Why don’t things always work like I intend them to?!

Ever felt like that? Perhaps you believe you “did the work” and yet felt it came up short of your expectation. You might be becoming aware of the relationship between your perspective and your intention.

Suppose your general outlook on life determines that life is dangerous. Setting an intention to accomplish this or that will fit within that life view. In this case, perspective has a limiting effect on intention. Life partner relationships are often based on this limitation even when the intention of the union is for each partner to live in the boundless joy experienced early in the relationship. Over time, limiting perspective shrinks the power of their conscious intention.

Perspective might be expressed as “the source of perception” or my “come from.” When I come from a place of fear, I’ll see things as threats. When I change that “come from” to one of grateful acceptance, threats tend to turn into opportunities and information.

Intention aligned with a perspective manifests as reality. You might also say that I manifest intention from a (one) perspective. What happens to manifestation within an interpersonal relationship? Within a group? How does a couple or group manifest their intention when each single perspective plays such a critical role in the outcome?

About Agreement

I have several competing perspectives in my mind at any given time. Perhaps I want to go to the store to buy something. One part of me says, “Yeah, you need that item.” Another may suddenly shout out, “Wait a minute! Your bank account says otherwise. Let’s wait a bit.” Yet another may chime in, “You don’t really need that.” And etc. I’m seldom of one voice and one mind. My mind has several perspectives – each of which influence my intentions.

In order to get anything done, I must come to some kind of agreement between all the competing perspectives within me. Then I can present my inner agreement to my life partner. She’ll go through the same process I did to come to some sort of inner agreement – her perspective. Sometimes my or her inner agreement is not actually an agreement at all – the loudest or most certain voice (“Mr. I. M. Right”) simply spoke for all. In that case, counter-behaviors would belie the inner conflict and my “good intentions” would sabotage my efforts.

About Communication

Communicating from a perspective as an interrelation between an object and the subject viewing it, how entwines with why, affecting outcomes. For example, when I take an interest in an object, my perspective of it may apply one or more justification filters (“why” or “why not” intentions) to add value to my interest. This manipulation of value can influence choices that affect future intentions and present perspectives. The more I understand about myself, the clearer my viewpoint and intentions become over time.

Why Oh Why?!!

Infants and very young children have only one intention – to live. At a certain age, just about every child goes through a “Why” stage in which they ask others about their intentions, “Why did you do that, Mommy?” Children are born with conflicting perspectives – some from Mom and some from Dad and maybe some they can call their own. As they grow up, they encounter the perspectives of many others, some more influential than others. By the time I arrived at adulthood, I had encountered many, many perspectives that affected my intentions. Today, “my” perspectives are literally those of all perspectives – in ONE.

As I get to know myself, I wield the power of awareness of my perspective through intention into manifestation. From that perspective everything that happens is as I intend. How much of that I’m aware of is up to me.

How Fear Feeds on Attention

Inside my First and Second degree bubble, everything lives by satisfying needs. An unsatisfied need can trigger a sense of suffering, which can present as fear. The more attention I pay to a need, the more energy I invest in its satisfaction because I fear suffering.

Could fear be the result of imagining what might happen if a need isn’t satisfied? In this way, could fear feed on my attention? Might I create a feed situation when what I give attention to turns into an unsatisfied need? Could I be causing my own suffering?

My fear-need process seems to be a circular awareness path in which I:

  1. …sense an unsatisfied need and then –>
  2. fear suffering because of it and then –>
  3. pay attention to the fear and so –>
  4. take ineffective action that falls short of satisfaction and –>
  5. pay some emotional energy and–>
  6. return awareness back to item 1 above…

Unfulfilled needs lead to fear of suffering that leads to unfulfilled needs that lead to more fear. Note how often I pay in the cycle above. Pay, pay, pay – feed, feed, feed. Out of control – it’s a fear feeding frenzy!

Perhaps fear is like a parasite, feeding on its host’s energy through attention. Could fear prize attention as its reward? As I seek to satisfy my need to avoid suffering, might I draw more suffering by attending to the demands of fear? Am I evolving according to the fears I attend to most?

How does fear feed on attention?

Perhaps an analogy might assist in the understanding how fear feeds on attention.

Fire fighters pull up to a burning building. A window in an adjacent building reflects the raging fire. The fire chief erroneously points his crew’s hose at the reflection rather than at the burning building. Obviously, the water poured on the window fails to extinguish the fire. Despite the amount of water the fire fighters apply to the window, the fire continues to grow. The greater the fire grows, the greater the image in the window and the more the fire fighters’ attention to it.

The fire fighters are doing what they know is the right thing to do even though their efforts are ineffective. Until the chief questions their actions, he may not recognize the error. A very wet window and a very burned-down building will be the result.

Fighting Ghosts

How many times have I done what I knew would work and felt the sting of frustration when it didn’t?!! Maybe I was hosing down a window – a reflection. Perhaps my fear is a reflection that draws my precious attention away from effective action. The image of what I feared sucked my energy away from taking effective action on the object of that fear.

How do I beat my fears? One, perhaps useful, way is to recognize them for what they are: ghosts, figments of imagination, reflections. Unreal. No matter what I fear, that fear is a ghost – not the object it reflects. No amount of attention poured on the fear window will put out the fire it reflects.

Like the fire chief who directs his forces at the window while the building burns down, I can continue to attend to my fears as I have – enjoying a fullness of frustration. Or I might reconsider by recognizing the ghost for what it is – a reflection – and asking, “What else?”

  • What unfulfilled need does this fear reflect to me?
  • How do I feel about that need? (particularly, where and how in my body do I feel it?)
  • Why is my attention drawn to this need (and not another)?
  • Who has the power of intention to redirect their attention? (I do!)

Watering the Weeds of Distraction

In my First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble, I work at awakening into full enlightenment. Sometimes I experience distraction from that goal. You know, the illusive finger of fate that points your attention and intention away from your present goal? Even when I accept that such distraction is of my own making, I still on occasion find myself “off track.”

Perhaps such derailments are the result of confusion over the relationship between attention and intention. Intention directs while attention connects. To accomplish a task, one must give attention to what fulfills the intention of that task.

For example – A firefighter controls the direction and flow of water shooting out the fire hose. His intention directs while his attention connects the water with the fire. When the fighter is distracted from his intention or attention, he ceases to be an effective firefighter in that instant.

Attention without intention ensures a future of distraction

Some distractions grab my attention for days – disrupting my intention from the enlightenment I seek. As I focus more attention on the distractions, I seem to get even more distracted as my world seems to darken. Now I begin to notice how people aren’t getting along with me and each other. I have to honk, shout and do hand gestures at all those insensitive and unconscious drivers on the road. I might catch a cold or feel “down” for a while – validating the truth of my sense of darkening.

Parasol Thinking

My need to attend to this one distracting thought overarches all other thoughts – like unfurling a gigantic parasol over the entire universe, turning day into night, blocking out the sunshine that once ruled. My attention to distractions has clouded my vision and I lose sight of my intention.

While I focus on what I don’t like – the distraction – the rest that I do like starves for my attention. “Energy flows where attention goes.” (Huna principle 3 – Makia)

And, Oh, the Weeds, the Weeds!

Could my distracted attention be “watering the weeds”? Perhaps.

Or –

Maybe there’s something useful in the negative, distracting thought. What if I’m doing distraction “on purpose?” Could what I don’t like – that which is holding my attention hostage – be the result of a hidden intention that can lead me to an awakening? What then, eh?

What then, indeed!

Perhaps when I’m faced with a compelling distraction, I might ask some [maybe useful] questions about my intention:

  • What am I avoiding with this distraction?
  • How am I avoiding it? (looking at behaviors and captive thoughts)
  • Why am I avoiding it? (looking at emotional payoffs)
  • Who am I as I take accountability for my thoughts?