One of Leonard Cohen’s most loved songs, “Anthem”, has the refrain:
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
I’m of the opinion that the song’s sentiment is so popular because we humans would like not to have try to be so perfect. A good idea. It looks good on paper. Sounds good when sexy old Leonard sings it. Hard to do in reality, though.
I admit I still vacillate.
Yoga practitioners can be trenchantly obsessive in their press towards the perfect execution of poses, as well as wanting to perform the most advanced ones perfectly. Yoga teachers must stay ahead of the class or risk losing the following of experienced students.
Years ago my repertoire of poses began very gradually to shrink due to the slow erosion of the cartilage in both my hips. The osteoarthritic deterioration has taken 18 years and now I am ripe for bi-lateral hip replacement, which I will undergo on February 1st.
There was a point when I considered the arthritis diagnosis a death knoll for my teaching career. Depressing to say the least. I’m not a quitter though.
It turned out that arthritis was a teacher for me, just the thing for a show-offy perfectionist. I found it hugely humbling to own up to my lack of perfection, and I still struggle with that.
Maybe Mr. Cohen was really describing humility as the light that gets in. Smart guy, good yogi.