I have held the belief nothing is perfect all of my life as one holds common sense knowledge in the core of their thoughts. I have pondered on how this concept of perfection came to me. Why do I believe nothing can be perfect and others around me strive for perfection? They expect perfection within themselves and the world around them. I look at them perplexed at why they cannot see that it goes against the flow of life, perfection is impossible. I remind myself we all hold different perspectives who is to say mine is correct and theirs is not. Nevertheless, I watch the pressure they put on themselves and others while they never find satisfaction in the performance of perfection.
The meaning of perfection changes through situations and perceptions. The idea of what is perfect varies depending on the culture, group, or individual’s definition. The level of performance is the expectations held of reaching their idea of perfection. They either sit within the surrounding reality or are plainly unrealistic. Their search for fulfillment in life is continually unsatisfying due to unrealistic expectations. In addition, the meaning of perfection changes with the placement of the expectation. For instance, perfection to some point can relate to someone’s personal tastes. A pair of jeans can fit perfectly the way she wanted them too. The difference is the expectation is placed on an object related to the person not the person or the object alone. Another element to the meaning of perfection is the belief in its existence.
The belief that nothing is perfect is the concept of imperfection. A way of life I have carried through my journeys. At one point, I was excelling at different beading stitches working very fast and not making noticeable mistakes. That was not cool with me so, I would purposely put a wrong color bead in the piece. There were few people that understood why, most thought I was nuts. I tried to explain to them it did not feel right to me, it was not natural.
The concept of imperfection is frowned upon by my culture. It explains why I have found myself out numbered through life. I have debated with family, friends, and even strangers on the validity of perfection. In the process of teaching this concept to my daughter, I have been drawn to figure out where this truth stems from in me. I learned it from somewhere. Naturally, I turn towards my childhood where beliefs often have their roots.
I was raised with a mixture of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Spirituality. If one can imagine compatible beliefs and philosophies of those all bundled together, that was what I was taught and overheard as I was growing up. Somewhere in all that knowledge the concept of nothing is perfect was introduced to me.
I started asking the influential people of my youth if they knew where the concept originated. A close Uncle remembered a worldview of Buddhism that holds the concept of nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect called Wabi-sabi.
The philosophy Wabi-sabi originates in Taoism and Zen Buddhism with traditional Japanese and Chinese art. The philosophy is also found in the Eastern world view with an acceptance that the world is out of our control, natural flaws are embraced, and beauty is found in what is natural, imperfect, and ephemeral.
I might have grown up in the West however; I was raised with many Eastern philosophies of life that molded who I am today. I know now, I received the gift of nothing is perfect, the concept of imperfection, through the teachings of Buddhism. A gift that has helped me avoid being a participant in the performances of perfection that surround me. I am very grateful to hold the philosophy of Wabi-sabi as truth within me.