We want to have everything, and we want to be perfect. We sometimes expect that we should be able to have everything and be perfect for the asking. Indeed, many of us take up meditation with the idea that its practice will enable us to attain perfection, while experiencing and possessing everything we fancy.

Unfortunately, our desire for perfection and our desire to have and possess whatever we want, are almost always on an unseen collision course. The desire to have everything arises from our lower, finite self; whereas perfection is the exclusive prerogative of our higher, infinite self. Our lower self sees its own desire-fulfillment and perfection as one and the same; while our higher self knows perfection can flow only from our emancipation from desire-indulgence.

Sri Chinmoy addressed this predicament when asked: “What keeps us from attaining perfection?”

“What keeps us from attaining perfection? It is our self-indulgence. In self-indulgence we feel that there is something absolutely necessary in our life, and that is pleasure. When we cry for pleasure and want to remain in pleasure, to become pleasure itself, perfection is a far cry. But when we cry for divine Joy, Delight, Bliss, at that time we enter into the ocean of perfection. If we cry continuously, we learn how to swim in the sea of perfection.

“When we have an inner cry for Delight, we jump into the sea of perfection. This is the first step. But when this inner cry becomes constant, we swim in the sea of perfection. When we keep Joy and Delight as our goal, perfection automatically grows in us, and slowly, steadily we become the sea of perfection. But, what now keeps us from perfection is our fondness for pleasure-life and our indulgence in pleasure-life.”
– Sri Chinmoy