"Perfection & Redemption"
Something I'd like to share with my critics:
I am a 20-year veteran of a high-intensity commitment to Transcendental Meditation. That means, in my opinion, I have not only survived some of the most destructive mind control tactics on the planet -- I have prospered. And, like nearly everyone, I have known other failure, sin, and great tragedy in my life.
In other words, I am one tough son of a bitch.
I suspect that nothing you could say or do would hurt me personally or dissuade me from doing what I believe to be right.
I'm not alone in this, naturally. There are thousands, perhaps millions, of similar veterans in America alone.
I was re-reading Dante recently -- I was a medieval scholar in my undergraduate career -- and remembered something remarkable.
The middle-aged Dante goes on a great journey -- starting in Hell, through Purgatory, to Paradise. In this life. Not your standard Christian theology, perhaps, but one of the great spiritual documents of the Western tradition, nonetheless.
I wonder if he wasn't trying to show us that failure, sin, and great tragedy are not avoidable in this life. They are just the ticket to a much larger game.
Nearly all of us have screwed up or been screwed in our lives. That isn't the point -- and it doesn't rule us out from redemption. It's just the beginning of the process.
What really matters is what happens now. Do we curl into a ball and die? Or do we rededicate ourselves to the ideals of our youth -- and the skills we've gained in our middle age to make those ideals a reality?
I spent more than 20 years -- my entire adult life -- pursuing the Eastern variety of perfectionism known as "enlightenment." I no longer believe in perfection. I'm no longer even interested in pursuing it.
I do, however, believe that we can all be perfect for brief, yet extraordinary moments of clarity. And that these moments most frequently come when we are under extreme trial.
What matters is what we do with those moments.
If we are lucky, we can write that moment down. Or create a work of art. Or have a powerful insight into the nature of physical or metaphysical reality. Leave a mark for the future to marvel at.
All this by long way of saying that I believe that Dr. Chopra is facing a time of extreme trial in his life. Fair or not, I believe the lasting judgment of history will be formed more by how he handles this moment of trial than all the moments of glory he's experienced in the past.
I know that's been true in my life. And I'm pleased to say that, finally after all these years, the idealistic boy I was would be quite proud to meet the man that I've become.
I wish the same for you all.
John M. Knapp, Editor/Publisher,
(c)1996 John M. Knapp. All rights reserved.
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