Accepting imperfection

by | Nov 12, 2020 | Uncategorised

The monotone cawing of a half-dozen or so rooks pulled for my attention. Loud, tuneless and repetitive, their calls disrupted my otherwise peaceful early morning walk. Frustrated with them for shattering my peace, I began to wish they were elsewhere.

Their calls transported my mind back to a retreat I had attended in Devon, the year before. The huge trees in the grounds of the ex-nunnery where the retreat had taken place were filled with scores of rooks who would caw their signals to each other from dawn to dusk.

I remember it was a lovely September day and we had been sent out of the main building to ‘meditate’ in the gardens. Beautiful sunlight bore down through the matured tress, sparkling on the morning dew on the grass. Leaves turning to a full spectrum of browns, reds and ambers, some fallen, others holding on. The dampness of the air lightly veiled across my skin by the gentle breeze… and the relentless cawing of the rooks!

Later that evening our teacher, revealed that some years ago an American lady had once commented on the fine beauty of this rural setting. She mentioned how peaceful she was finding it, apart from these raucous rooks and how her practice would be so much better if they could be moved on.

Having travelled such a distance to be there, to be taught with such insight by the teachers, in what was a lovely rural setting in this beautiful house, she had finally been defeated by the local birdlife! The teacher sensing her air of resignation, gently encouraged her to welcome the rooks as part of her meditation, to be ‘in the midst’ of their caws.

Recalling the parallels of this story with my own experience in that moment, brought a wry smile to my face. Both of us seeking perfection, both of us intolerant to imperfection.

I let go of my negativity towards the imperfect, the caws of the rooks, and within moments my attention had been consumed by an array of spiders’ webs outlined by the heavy morning dew.

How strange it is that when I stopped wishing for things to be different, what had originally bothered me, no longer seemed important.

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