This is not about the kind of perfection we usually think as an illusion or tease people about. It’s not about the end result. It’s not about being obsessed with perfection.
It is about dedication to a process…committing to do whatever we do to the best of our abilities. Perfection is all about giving your best to the process and enjoying it all the way.
The Isha Yoga Center in Coimbatore and Akshardham temple in Delhi totally blew me over with their dedication towards perfection. At Isha Yoga center, whenever we entered a hall (about 150 of us), we would leave our footwear outside very erratically. However, by the time we came out, our footwear were always arranged so neatly, that we were able to spot them in seconds. The humility, patience and dedication with which they went about all the chores regardless of the nature of work were truly stellar. I figured that work is not big or small or important or less important. Work is just work and how we go about it makes all the difference. It appeared as if everything used to be in divine order all the time.
At Akshardham, I was enthralled by its magnitude and the architecture. It was nothing like anything I had ever witnessed. It must have taken a mammoth effort to construct the place. It has been over 8 years since construction. However, it looks as good as new even today. I loved the dedication with which it is being maintained. In this day of cell phones, cameras and laptops, nothing is allowed inside. Everything has to be left behind and you enter, just as an individual. For those who are addicted to phones, they might think they’d come out after a quick glance. But once they enter, they are not their own anymore. The breathtaking beauty and the magnificence takes over. The next many hours would be one of wonder and awe. Nothing else seems to matter more. By the end of the tour in Akshardham, one is so enchanted by the place that the sense of self becomes one with the universe and the richness of life becomes evident.
If the people at any of these places were obsessed with perfection, it would have had a very different effect. When we are obsessed with something, we get ornery and upset if things don’t go as expected. Whereas, when we are devoted to the process, we value everything that comes along. We seek to strengthen our commitment to the process and the people around in spite of all odds. It’s a humbling experience for those around as well.
I have also had the opportunity to meet some fantastic leaders who were so committed to everything they did. When I met them for half an hour, they put aside their phones and laptops and only focused on their conversation with me. It was like I was the most important person and talking to me was the most important thing for them to do at that time. I felt valued.
With the new age technology, where we could have multiple conversations simultaneously with people, I wonder if at times, am I giving the person in front of me the time, attention and importance that he or she deserves. When I am eating, I wonder if I am truly appreciating what I am eating. When I am breathing, I wonder if I am grateful for my life.
When someone asked a Zen master ‘What do you do?’ he said, ‘I eat when I eat, pray when I pray, sleep when I sleep.’ How wonderful! Intentional living – perhaps this is what it is all about. Living life’s moments perfectly rather than perfecting life itself.