Shinzen Young: Perfection is just waiting to happen

By: Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator

Jun 15 2012

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Category: Fiber Arts, thangkas

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“Perfection is just waiting to happen. All you have to do is get something out of the way.

You don’t have to build nirvana. You just have to knock out something that’s in the way of the natural enlightenment that’s waiting to happen.”

Shinzen Young, 2011 Buddhist Geeks Conference

Writer’s block. Most of us have experienced it. I know I have been struggling with it today as I try to find the words for a scholarship application to help pay the significant expenses of my Depth Psychology PhD in Community, Liberation, and Ecopsychology at Pacific Graduate Institute.

Writer’s Block really is about the struggle for perfection–and about knocking whatever it is that is blocking our perfection out of the way.  It is not as easy as it sounds. The more we struggle, the more we build up whatever it is that’s in our way. I’ve found it helps to let go of the attempt at perfection to just get words, any words, on the page. Today that includes this blog post. If I just write, and accept what is in my mind, what is shown on the page, and discover what wants to be said, I am usually happier with my result than if I spend more energy “working” at it–and judging my results against “perfection.”

These are just some thoughts on the subject. I have many more! But for now, I have a task at hand. I have some writing to do. I will put words down and discover what they want to say: not good, not bad, just is.

And I would love to hear what you think about it!

Pictured is a detail of an example of the rare Buddhist art of silk applique thangkas by Leslie Rinchen-Wongmo. His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave his blessings to Leslie’s work and encouraged her to make images that speak to the spiritual aspirations of people across religions and cultures. Leslie’s fascinating story is the subject of the acclaimed documentary film, Creating Buddhas: the Making and Meaning of Fabric Thangkas.

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