By Suma Varughese
What do these terms mean and how can one get there?
Many years ago, I had an experience where, for a moment, I got in touch with my real self. I experienced this Self as whole, perfect and complete. From then on I knew indubitably that that was what I really was, no matter what evidence there was to the contrary. All the rest, the deeply faulty being I was yoked to, and who made me cringe with embarrassment, was just conditioning.
I knew without doubt that my journey was about unpeeling that conditioning bit by bit, until the whole perfect and complete Self was free to shine out. The journey is ongoing, tough but exhilarating, as I see little pieces of the person I had long thought to be me – clumsy, forgetful, irresponsible, vague, vaporise into thin air, and I begin to morph a little bit more into that Shining Self. Wholeness, perfection and completion – I am moving towards these realms, and these days I try very hard to get a grip on these words.
What do they mean?
All these words somehow hang together. You cannot attempt to describe one without invoking the other. For instance, what is it to be whole? Surely it is to be without a flaw or a disadvantage? To be complete in oneself. The dictionary concurs, describing the state as “something that is complete in itself, especially something consisting of integrated parts.” Someone who is whole is wholesome, healthy, juicy, and joyous like a fruit in prime. A whole person has no missing parts, no dents caused by accidents along the road, no sagging or wearing down of the system. One is as whole as one was the day one was created, never less.
At the moment, the part about being whole that I really resonate with is about being healthy. The two come from the same root. To be whole is to be healthy. To glow with radiance, vitality and tejas. To vibrate with vigour, energy and enthusiasm. To be free of all ailments and maladies. To be in rude physical health. As I struggle to come to terms with a phase of physical concerns, I like to think that deep inside I am truly healthy. That health is my powerful and permanent identity, and the physical issues are ephemeral and weak.
What about perfection? I have long wrestled with this need. I have never wanted to be less than perfect. I was ashamed of the parts of me that were imperfect. The articles I goofed up with, or the dishes I didn’t cook well. The times I spilt coffee on the platform or spilled food on my clothes. To recognise one is innately perfect is to see the perfection even in the imperfect. To understand that in God’s world, everything is okay. The goof-ups and the parts of me that I wish to excise have a role to play in my life, and are right and perfect for where I am now. I can be easy with them and can accept them just as I accept the parts of me I approve of. Perfection means that I am worthy of unconditional self-esteem, that I can include all of me into the umbrella of self-love.
And finally, completion. What is it to be complete? Is it to be totally free of all needs and desires? To be peaceful and centred in oneself no matter what the raging circumstances? To not need companionship, love or endorsement from the outside? To not desire good food, sex or random objects of desire? I think so. Obviously, this does not mean that one no longer eats or has sex. It just means that one will act out of desirelessness, without being prodded by the powerful impulse of need. Completion means to be free of all external circumstances. To be complete in oneself; sufficient unto oneself. I love the idea of completion. What a stage of tranquillity and peace. To no longer pine to read the latest best-seller, or to buy the outfit that beguiles you. To not be pulled and pushed by the senses and the ego. To not mind if the person one smiles at does not smile back. Or if abused in a crowded suburban train. Or if rejected in love. Or to fail in a business enterprise. Instead, we are at peace, lapping in the oncoming waves of contented completion.
To be whole, perfect and complete. What else could you wish for?
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