This part of Ireland has quite a lot of interesting early Christian remains, so last weekend I visited the ruins of the monastic settlement in Castledermot. It is a site which is left somewhat untended, so that the crosses and tombs have a certain craggy beauty in a natural setting. Rough stones, some seeming unfinished. And yet, unfinished or ongoing does not mean “not right”, much as we tend to prefer tidyness and a clear direction or order. We often think we have to be the finished product, or have everything resolved and clear, so that other people will give us the feedback that we are doing OK. Seeing this “lack of completion” reminded me of these words from Jung – which echo the idea from Pema Chodren posted last Friday. We never really arrive at “perfection” (even though the mind thinks in terms of it) but rather at a wholeness which is more like a continual “coming together and falling apart”. When we give up that notion of the idealized life we wish we had, we allow ourself to work with the life we actually have. Each moment may not be perfect, but it is, in some way, complete.
The realization of the self….leads to a fundamental conflict, to a real suspension between opposites …and to an approximate state of wholeness that lacks perfection. . . . The individual may strive after perfection . . . but must suffer from the opposite of his intentions for the sake of his completeness.
Jung, Christ, A Symbol of the Self,
photo of ancient Celtic cross Castledermot, Ireland, taken from dialogue ireland website.