The Practice of Imperfect Mastery

There are many schools of perfect mastery, taught by perfect masters. These are mostly to be found in the spiritual realm, but not only.

Although it is not possible to know what is on the mind of a perfect master, it is possible to say a few things theoretically. Perfect masters are perfectly loving. They have too much presence of mind to over-react emotionally to the events of daily life. (Indeed, "events" for them are not events as they are for you and me, but rather an energy flow.) They rely on intuition and the clarity of their constant awareness, and have no need of conceptual thinking as we are used to that (although they can do conceptual thinking, too).

They have no ego, that is, they are perfectly altruistic--and have no needs or wants of their own -- yet they have Will, meaning they are free to do and actualize what they choose.

And they don't act-out any neurotic behavior like the rest of us do sometimes--no manipulations, no defense mechanisms, no "funny stuff," as Paul put it. ("All you need is love," as his brother John added later.) When perfect masters act, they act with perfect mastery. And whatever they do is for love.

Much as I have worked on my self during the last thirty years, I have never gotten anywhere close to perfect mastery. So that is why I have had to resort instead to becoming a teacher in a school of imperfect mastery. I'd just like to get that point out front, so no one makes any mistakes about it. I am not a guru. Yet, the things that I have learned so far about life, may turn out, anyway, to be worth sharing with some of you.

I am a somewhat good man, in particular, later in my life. And I work on my self almost every day. And that's what this school is about: learning to wake up and pay objective attention to what's going on, and "work on it."

This entails accepting the reality that we have a shadow side as well as the light side. It entails doing the best we can with that, realistically, in the light of whatever particular "mischief" we are making, or whatever we are being so "blatant" about. (Kindergarten is such a great place for checkin' all this out!) At least we can be honest about it. That's what imperfect mastery is about. We see it objectively. Then we really can learn how to do something about it.

I, for example, the kindergarten teacher, still have an ego and a self-ish personality. I go to sleep and I forget how to love. I don't mean to do it, but I'm not aware of it at the time. I can be an outrageous Rebel, quite insulting at times to others, I kid you not. But if I wake up on it, and I cut it out, I can just be the sensitive Artist that I am.

And I remember a few years back when one of my students nicknamed me "the nebbish dervish"--another piece of my personality that was being observed at the time, that we also call "The Doormat." Geez! The nickname stuck. And everybody was calling me Nebbish Dervish for awhile, often with a little grin. And why not? That's a part of my shadow side, too. And when I can't see it, so much the better if someone else can. And when I can see my Doormat, I'm reminded of my gentle, relaxed Hard Worker, inside (who is getting all this hard work done for you).

This sort of gentle confrontation woke me up at times in class, and I cut down on some of my ineptitudes. (And I still have some left for you to see, in kindergarten here, of course!) So that sort of thing is fair game in the classes I teach. Because I am still growing, too. And students can always hold the mirror up to my face, as well, so I can see if there are any "motes in my eye." (See the Interactive Bulletin Board to let me know.) And in kindergarten, although anonymously on your part, I will try to have some of this gentle confrontation for you, as well. So you can learn from it, as I have been doing. You'll see how I do that when you get there.

I think it's important to emphasize that the teachers are not what's important here, anyway--that is, when it comes to ideas of perfection, or examples of anything. This web page is not about me, nor about other teachers who may be appearing here. It is about you. And we're all in this together. We can all be students here together, even as teachings are being brought forth--from here, from there, from anywhere. From you, as well, as you have them. Type them to us. We'll be glad to receive. We are all just being human here at this school. No one is a perfect master here. And this is *not* about putting me down, either!--just because the best things that I can be an example of--sometimes--are my own mistakes that we all can learn insights around.

That's what imperfect mastery is about--realizing that we are just simple human beings, and that all of us (save perfect masters) have learning and work that we can do. There are ego trips laid and ego trips received. There are emotional reactions that sometimes run rampant. There are judgments and imaginations that take us *far from home*, and manipulations and wounding defenses. There is anger and hatred as well as caring and love.

Imperfect mastery is not an excuse. It is not a put-down either. It is a method for seeing all of this objectively, as it just goes down in the shadows of our ordinary lives. This is a realistic method that matches up very precisely with the lives that we each actually have. The purpose of this is so that any given person--if they ever might wish to do so--can start doing something about all this if they'd like to . . . that is, if they can learn to remember to wake up on it when it's happening (and awareness gives us that), and, if (which comes from practice) they can learn to remember on time.

a philosophy continued Beginner's Mind

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