Everyone accepts that nobody’s perfect and it is impossible for anyone to be perfect. At the same time, almost everyone would like to know and be in unity with God, or whatever term you use for what you perceive as a greater being.
The problem is that God is perfect and there is no way for anyone to be in unity with perfection unless you are perfect yourself. How can you have a desire to unify with perfection when you accept that it is impossible for you to be perfect?
This is an obvious dilemma. Due to the nature of our world, it is safe to assume that the lesser will prevail. This means we will never achieve perfection or unity with the Divine.
When people criticize me about being anal or trying to be too perfect, or demanding too much of myself, or any of the other terms that people who are not willing to put in that level of effort use, then I have to say; ‘if I am not striving for perfection in every single breath I take, then how could I ever achieve my goal?’
Either you are not serious about your goal and should give up that pipe dream, or strive for perfection in every breath, every action and every word. Only in extremely precise detailed attention to everything you do and say, towards achieving perfection not only in considering your actions, but in the repercussions of your actions in perfect responsibility, can you move forward. This includes considering 100 steps down the line if something you do creates that long a chain, only then can you hope to have a chance of achieving unity with the Divine.
This is actually not very complicated to do, it just takes effort. The interesting thing is that the effort is what gives you the benefits far more than the actual acts of attention. The question, which is also very simple to answer is; how much do you want your goal? The more you want something, the harder you will work to get it. The practice is in attention to detail.
This is beautifully summed up in the words of Ibn A’rabi, the greatest of Sufi saints and teachers, when he said; “100% of your spiritual growth is dependent on your adab.”
Adab is an Arabic word roughly translated into English as respect. It is a core principle in the Sufi path of development, which I like to use, because in one word it encompasses many aspects of our life which are all related. Adab can be translated as respect or courtesy, but has far greater meaning, including; consideration of others, compassion, awareness of our actions and effect on others and very importantly, correct conduct.
If people do not have good Adab, the core of their personality is weak. Hence, by improving your Adab, your attention to your actions, your mind is present at all times, your awareness increases and your sense of power over your life also improves. In this way, you get closer to perfection and become worthy of being highly respected by everyone.
Why settle for less in yourself or the quality of the life you can live. Strive for perfection in all you do and you will find your life becomes one others wish they could live.