Years ago I used to volunteer at Unity, a modern church that bills itself “a positive path for spiritual living.”   Mike and I took care of the little ones during the service for almost a year.  It was pre-grandchildren, and we enjoyed hanging out with the kids.  Aside from that sweet contact, what made the most lasting impression on me was something a guest speaker, Edwene Gaines, said one Sunday morning: “The Universe is perfect just as it is, and you need a project.”  

This contrast has continued to challenge me.  How could everything be perfect, if there’s work to be done?  I think of all the perfection I see, feel, experience… and then pan my inner eye across to all the despair, cruelty, violence, …and the two seem utterly irreconcilable.

Over the years some resolutions to this koan (which is what it has been for me), have emerged.  One is to shift from considering the two tenets as either/or  — Either the Universe is perfect, OR you need a project, and join the two with an emphatic AND.  The Universe is perfect right now, as it is, AND there’s much that needs attending to. 

This AND version allows us to hold it all:  all the greed, hatred, ignorance, and the aftermath of these in our hearts and in the world, AND the miracles and magic of love, caring, connection, and the effects of these in our lives and on our planet.

These fighter planes tightly aligned in perfect formation may epitomize the contrast:  I see a certain kind of beauty, plus precision, cooperation, connection in the pattern, AND then also pollution, hierarchy, imminent death and destruction, all intertwined.

We may also move toward resolution, on a spiritual, mystical dimension, when we consider the perfection to be in deep, true Nature of Reality, while the roughness and gristle is what’s found in places at the surface level.

I will leave you to ponder the koan for yourselves, and also the multitudinous ways the universe is perfect, and offer you a worthy project!  I am sure you have many of your own.  Good on you.  What follows is one that has come to my attention recently, and I want to share it with you.

Perhaps you heard that the International Criminal Court recently issued its first decision, and a momentous one is was indeed:  the conviction of Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga.  The judges pronounced him guilty of war crimes for the enlistment, conscription, and (ab)use of child soldiers.  Even while acknowledging that justice is often slow, ponderous, and expensive, this is cause for celebration.

And there is more to be done.  Joseph Kony, head of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), a Ugandan guerilla group, has been perpetrating the same heinous war crimes against children for decades, and is still active and at large in spite of great mobilization to find and bring him to justice.

But progress is being made and we can all help. Watch this compelling video about Kony and the ‘Invisible Children’ in his toxic sphere. It’s 28 minutes, but worth it. In case you are concerned about the people involved, or the organization, read this article in the New York Time Opinion Pages by Nicholas Kristof, (that indefatigable champion of women’s and children’s rights).  It puts things clearly in context.

I urge you to inform yourself, and then spread the word.  The premise is that if people knew what Joseph Kony is doing, and that he’s still viciously and virulently out there, there is increased likelihood he will be found and brought to justice.  So one goal of the campaign is to make him a ‘household name’, famous, so to speak.  You can help too. Two weeks ago I was oblivious to all this, and now Kony is a household name, and helping to expose and enclose him, a project.

Blessings to you, for being you, being there, doing what you do, being who you are.

I close with some images of perfection 🙂

BECOMING addresses these issues in the chapters “Universe Unfolding,” and “This or That?”, which you can read in the Preview section of this site.  

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self -reflection, and to mine our memorable moments  for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check out a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Your feedback is most welcome.

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