If only

“Everything would be perfect if only…”  How long is the list?

Everything would be perfect if I hadn’t failed tenth grade… if I could finish my taxes on time…if my neighbour were more cooperative about our adjoining hedge…if I could stick to my diet…if my son had a better job…if Sally didn’t have the flu…if Washington could clean up its act…if it weren’t so cold, (substitute rainy, dry, windy, whatever).

Then it would be perfect. The gap between what is and what we think should be is called stress. So we can add that one to the list, too, “Everything would be perfect if only I didn’t have so much stress in my life.”

So much energy is tied up in that gap, creating a certain pushing or pulling, however subtle. The resolution lies not so much in a blanket resignation, which so often disguises itself as acceptance, but in a quiet observation of the power of  “if only.” It’s not a question of throwing up one’s hands, or less dramatically, shrugging one’s shoulders with, “It is what it is.”

It’s more like stopping, taking a breath and feeling what else is here – just a quiet, open observation. First, there is the simple act of observing. Then the observing folds back into itself and the field in which it is arising emerges. When the ‘if-object’ (what’s wrong) is released to what is aware of it, it deconstructs itself by itself, revealing the spacious field which is its source and homeground.

Only here is there enough room to do what really needs to be done, and the rest will take care of itself. The field in which the stress arises is never touched by the stress, desire, imperfection, or ignorance. It simply is, already perfect.

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