Divine perfection is one of those ideas that sounds amazing and obvious, and the more it’s explored, the more one integrates and develops, the more nuanced and subtle it becomes.
At the most simple and succinct level, divine perfection is expressing itself in every inner and outer aspect of life, and in every expression of consciousness, whether we identify it as sentient, or non-sentient.
Every time I’ve explored this topic as relates my experiences or what is unfolding, or in witnessing another, what I get so clearly is that the whole—the biggest and largest expression of the container that is “held by God”—is in its entirety an expression of divine perfection.
This can be challenging for my mind to grasp. For example, is suffering an aspect of divine perfection? And if so, what is the role of suffering?
Or what must be done in order to more fully experience divine perfection in each sacred moment?
Suffering, it seems to me, is the result of living or engaging in life in the gap between what is, and what is expected or desired.
I want to suggest that this is a clash between divine will and individual will—though this manner of thinking about this dynamic may not resonate with you. I’m not interested in fully exploring divine versus individual will here, I’m saying that when we let go of control completely, we discover a form, experience, and expression of grace that is beyond our ability to conceive of or experience by conventional thinking or control-based actions.
Rather than trying to present a comprehensive cosmology, I’m simply trying to point towards something that is very difficult to understand, yet it’s nearly inevitable that you have actually experienced what I’m talking about in your life already.
If you think of a time when you were suffering, and you got to the limits of what you could do or influence, perhaps at the moment of greatest suffering, you surrendered. If you really focused on trying to figure it all out, and ran down every possible option before you surrendered, you felt some sort of relief when you finally let go of control. Everything was taken care of for you somehow, until you re-exerted control. Once you thought you needed to be in charge again, the suffering resumed.
And in those moments or days or even weeks of grace where you weren’t in control, didn’t you feel closer to the Divine?
What if suffering brings us closer to God, by illuminating the limitations that are baked into our sense of individual will?
If this is true, couldn’t we then say that suffering itself is an aspect of divine perfection?
Couldn’t we say that in the end, everything we experience is an aspect of divine perfection, since everything we’re encountering and experiencing is either reinforcing the efficacy of individual will (and therefore transporting us closer to its limits – which in turn opens us up to a deeper experience of divine will) or divine will?
I see life as a developmental journey in consciousness, each aspect an expression and experience of divine perfection.
And what of the question of “doing” something to more fully experience divine perfection in each sacred moment of life? It can be easy to think if only I had or if only I knew what to do in this case . . . I would be encountering a fuller or more complete expression of divine perfection now. As if something other-than-what-is would be the most complete expression of God’s presence.
This kind of thinking is understandable, for if what is unfolding right now doesn’t feel resonant on whatever level, it’s natural to wonder how it could be different.
But what if what’s happening right now is exactly what is needed in order to ensure your deeper integration?
This is an interesting line of thinking to explore, for it offers a pathway to indulge the separate self more fully, or to justify or rationalize one’s behavior or choices. But let’s play it out to see where it might lead us.
Let’s say that taking action in accordance with my separate self’s preferences has led me to this dynamic, and now I’m having an experience of dissonance of whatever flavor. I’m wondering what I might have done differently, and I’m committed to discovering what that is, and fixing it so I can make the better choice in the future.
Beyond engaging in imagining different scenarios, or projecting other possible outcomes, this inquiry eventually must lead to a series of experiments wherein I make different choices when faced with a similar condition and notice how these choices impact what follows.
With these experiments, I start noticing a theme: the “better choices” require the learning that resulted from the “lesser choices” – so that as I move forward in my learning, I begin to realize that to make more integrated choices, I must in fact be more integrated. And the pathway to being more integrated, is the process of making choices that initially are more identified with the preferences of my separate self. The dissonance that results from these choices begins to feel like suffering to me, which I can choose to disengage with by becoming more identified with my whole self, which eventually results in an experience of greater resonance.
In other words, we make the best possible choices we’re capable of, based on the level in which we are currently integrated. Our integration is actually supported and accelerated because of this exact dynamic—and as we integrate and make more integrated choices (or behave in more integrated ways) we begin to experience a greater level of resonance on every inner, and eventually, every outer level.
There have been points in my exploration of divine perfection when I’ve grown concerned about what might happen if the preferences of the separate self become so dominant, so as to completely lead one away from the pathway towards integration and the Divine within.
For example, if I imagine a person who is so completely identified with their separate self and caught in the pain of separation that they behave in ways cause pain and suffering not just for themselves, but for others. How can this dynamic lead them back to their integration and back to the truth of who they really are?
It’s a confounding question if we look within the dynamic of one lifetime, but if we back away and consider the development of the soul over the course of its entire expression, from inception to completion (whatever these terms actually mean or signify), a new picture emerges of the same dynamic we explored earlier within the context of one lifetime, but now the context is the soul’s developmental journey over many lifetimes, or even all its lifetimes.
If this perspective is meaningful, it lends momentum to the idea that we are simply incapable of messing up the trajectory of our soul’s expression, and eventually, by whatever means, we integrate and express our wholeness.
This idea may push the limits of what seems acceptable or indeed of what is palatable, especially when one considers how individual choices can so powerfully affect others’ lives.
For example, an individual chooses to drink alcohol to the point of incapacity, and then drive their car, in the process they cause a car accident that results in the deaths of three people. How could this possibly be divine perfection?
Or what if someone explores these ideas and decides to justify whatever behavior they might be inspired to engage in as acceptable, because they can’t mess up their soul’s true trajectory? Only to find themselves in jail with their options in this lifetime severely curtailed, the direct result of their choices.
It seems the invitation of this exploration is one of scale and perspective. The drunk driver must live with the pain their behavior has caused, which includes the end of three people’s lives. Someone who imagines no consequences to their behavior and does whatever their separate self is inspired to do, must live with whatever those consequences are.
I can’t pretend to comprehend the totality of the impact on the individual who would make this type of choice (or those affected), nor can I truly understand the richness and complexity of the divine tapestry that is being woven between and through each and every human being, and each instance of consciousness.
Still, there is a pathway to the Divine here. In the moments or sustaining experiences of the artifacts of separation, are the seeds of your wholeness. In separation, is wholeness, for once the agenda of the separate self is fully played out, by whatever means, is surrender. And on the other side of surrender is God. And with the Divine, is an experience of unconditional love so comprehensive it can’t be fully conveyed with words.
If we consider each step in our journey to this experience as an aspect of divine perfection, I believe we can begin appreciating how comprehensive God’s love for us is, and how our learning and integration is eventually, inevitably, leading us home to the truth. No matter how we might have been engaged to this point, no matter what has been done to us, or what we have done to others. Underneath everything else, is the Divine.
That’s it for this week … From My Heart
In God’s Love and Presence, Further Into the Mystery—All the More Extraordinary with You!
PS – Please note:
This week’s video is about forgiveness – and how to actually feel it when you forgive yourself and others: https://youtu.be/GkVSrgmojI4 (thanks to David for submitting the question)
If you have a question you’d like me to explore in an upcoming weekly video, please submit it here: https://kenwstone.com/frequently-asked-spiritual-questions/#ask