On my Zen calendar today Timothy Ferris (whom I have no knowledge of) wrote the above words. They have stayed with me all day. Here is what “never perfect” looks like to me: not the fact that my feet are flat and deformed looking or that I have varicose veins in my legs, or that the inside of my house needs repainting … no, “never perfect” right now means to me that we have a human being running for president who has defied and trashed the rules of civility, who has lied, and spewed homophobic words into the national conversation. And what’s tragic about this imperfect scene is that a large portion of our population are following along behind this unstable demagogue. I am aware of a roiling and restless frustration in my body and my inability to just let it be. But then what?
The next line of Mr. Ferris’ offering reads: “‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.” Ahhh … yes … Why? Because “someday” is out there – it doesn’t exist. To lay our visions and aspirations in the “someday basket” is to file them away and allow them to wither. So, what are we to do? Return to what is going on with our hearts and minds now, and try to find a way to spread our vision far and wide. But we must do it with kindness and respect, remembering the Buddha’s teachings on “Right Speech.” Right speech applies not only to the spoken word, but the thoughts we all carry. We must find a way to parse our thoughts about injustice and suffering and humane governing so that they may be grasped by those who choose to follow in Mr. Trump’s footsteps. But how? I have no clue. I do know that there has to be an intention to do good, both in our private worlds, and in the world at large. We must find the core of the intention and hold on to it for dear life, because that is how we help effect change.
Mr. Ferris concludes his little piece by writing: “If it’s important to you and you want to do it ‘eventually,’ just do it and correct course along the way.” Yes. We must be sensitive to the right moment to speak our truths, but we must be committed to speak that truth now. We have a relatively short amount of time before this country elects a new president, and if we hang around waiting for the conditions to become more “perfect,” we may find the country in a very perilous and dark place.
I am speaking about seeing and standing up for our highest truth, not shrinking. I am speaking about summoning dedication and energy for a process that often seems broken, because we in fact love this land we inhabit. This highly imperfect country needs the wisdom of all its citizens… I am writing these words now because I am trying to summon this dedication, energy, truth, and humanity in myself, so that I can look in the mirror, feel comfortable, and know that I’ve done all I can to create change for the good in this moment … because that is all we have.
I thank Mr. Timothy Ferris for the courage and inspiration of his words.