A younger version of myself was famous... perhaps infamous for trying to be a "Happy Perfectionist." My sponsor often referred to it back then as being a "Control freak!"
I was out and about in my life, trying to do everything and every thing "Perfectly..." saying things perfectly... land things perfectly... meet every moment perfectly. I would even try to have people see, think, and feel about me perfectly; through approval seeking and being a serial people pleaser. Living and being that way, because of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual insecurity, had the (karmic) result of being anchored to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual suffering. Put another way, I was getting out, what I was putting out. A friend of mine, a wise friend and mentor Noreen Spillman refers to this as being the "Architect of our own demise." How quaint.
Anyone who becomes involved in Buddhist training, especially of the "Zen," variety will come across a particular mantra. It's two words that point to a lot. those two words are, "The Form." I sometimes call this "The Posture." In my experience, it's easier for western minds to understand. In the practice Buddhism, whether we call it "The Form," or "The Posture," of the practice, there are four we give our time, attention, and dedication. The physical. The mental. The emotional. The spiritual. Without conscious contact with these for postures... pun intended, what we end up with lopsided practitioner of The Way. The lopsided result, means that the "Control freak," manifestations AKA as "Suffering," morphs a million different ways, persists, and influences the person to eventually give-up. That giving up, is surrendering to being a permanent slave to a fickle, arbitrary mind, serving out the rest of our days, efforting to satisfy the endless conjurings of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual insecurity... inequity... and sense of insufficiency. Oddly this comes out as being as we say in recovery from addiction world as, "An ego manic with an inferiority complex."
Dukkha sucks! Someone ought to make a tee-shirt with that on it, so we have an opportunity to remind each other, and not grow numb or indifferent to the reality. By the way, perhaps it could be helpful to mention that the mind does this all on its own, without our intervention. Pause long enough, and you'll catch on. In fact, it's a kind of "Step One." We're powerless over the minds insecure tendencies; when we bit down on them, claiming them for our own, and trying to live out those tendencies, we can make our life, and that of others pretty unmanageable... in real time.
Bummer! What are we to do? Though we are powerless over what the mind does, as it's running its programming, we're not powerless in how we can respond to it. Buddhism... the practice of being in conscious contact with our inherent Universal Nature of Loving Presence, can change the relationship that we have with the mind, and in This Way, though we can very definitely have pain in our lives, we don't have to suffer with it so much. Only liberation is liberation. The reason that we can be, "Fully whole, and wholly free," is because in point of fact we are freedom Itself, despite the fact we my not manifest It... and that's what Zen is for.
What is Zen? Waaaaaaaaaaa! Which translated into English from the Japanese character 和, means "Harmony."
The nature of our practice... going against the mind-stream of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual insecurity is to bring mindful awareness, attention, and noticing first to our physical posture. We align our body in stillness, pouring in our mental attention to our present moment circumstances, turning towards our feelings, rather than away, and embodying authenticity and integrity beyond how we commonly perceive those words. Rather than transactional, authenticity and integrity is transformation. It cannot be attained intellectually. We must must must must do it experientially, bringing the relationship to heart and mind to task, as Shakyamuni the Buddha himself did. The method is tried and true. It has been with us for more than 3,000 years. It's not new-age... it's old-age... mostly not applied... which has resulted in outsized suffering. And so we train in the Zendo and Dharma hall of our life... hopefully in mutual solidarity... cutting free of our being anchored to that needy-greedy nature that's tendency to have us crawl through the dirt and mud, when we are fully capable of standing.
一We Are the Practice Itself