Brief Reflection - Ideals
By Marc Forest
For some aspects of my life, I have been reflecting on the idea of what I hold in mind as a perceived standard of perfection or ideal. As I continued to contemplate this, I realized that I may be restricting myself from exploring other opportunities life offers. This exercise encouraged me to lighten up on how I think things should be. The reflection refined the insight that many ideals were ambiguous and clung to for unknown reasons.
Having in mind, and clinging to an ambiguous ideal, of how life should be, has set me up for disappointment and prevented me from opening to other opportunities. This is what happens when a tightly held, not-reflected-on ideal does not meet deep-rooted expectations. I soon experienced that an expected ideal when clung to, and not met, generated a level of distress.
Allowing and experiencing things just as they are is a release from the binds of desire to have things other than ideal. When this release was experienced through reflection and lightening up, I was freed to explore, other ways. A life of un-investigated ideals, brings no opportunity for learning, growth and personal transformation.
One way to release clinging to a standard, is to notice and accept that life gives us exactly what it gives us. Our challenge is to get into the flow of life and work with it. “If life gives us lemons, make lemonade.” We should be open to the potential that today’s ideal, may not be tomorrow’s. This attitude can awaken us to other possible directions not held as ideal today.
This wholesome attitude takes mindfulness; the ability to relax, observe and be open-minded. It also takes a mature wisdom to meet all the experiences which life gives us, without having our perceived ideals or standard of perfection influence how we respond. Development of wisdom is a by-product of continuous mindfulness and reflection.
Reflecting on what ideals you might be holding, for unknown reasons, and perhaps in an unwholesome way, is a useful exercise. Making the effort to do this reflection, will give you some insight to what may be holding you back from further growth, wisdom and happiness.
Here are a few things that I have been pondering that might get your own reflection going:
1. The ideal of certainty?
2. The ideal relationship?
3. The ideal career or in my case, the ideal retirement?
What will your own reflection, open for you?