The last few days have been difficult. After months of equanimity, the stale taste of depression had returned. Low energy, lack of focus, no desire to tackle even the most mundane projects. Things were supposed to improve, I complained. My GP and I had recently cut back on SSRI meds, trusting that a cocktail of meditation practice, volunteer work, loving friends, and restored libido would see me through.
What’s going on here? What made me think I was sliding back into darkness … oscillating between opposites: good or bad, sad or happy, liberated or entangled? This time I caught myself in mid-swing. Half-way through last night’s sitting, I opened my mouth to offer words of encouragement and out came Leonard Cohen’s:
Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything.
Forget your perfect offering, I repeated. Offer what you can, to the best of your capability. Accept what is given and delight in it. Welcome whatever arises in your heart-mind-body. Take a break from wishful thinking. Nothing is perfect. Everything changes. You are as perfect as can be. You’re not a self-improvement project.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
With these additional lines, Mr. Cohen — himself a former Zen monk — points to the bigger picture: Yes, there are still bells to be rung, still much to do to reduce suffering in our everyday, still hope, still people ready to be of service. And those cracks, well, they’re not flaws: their purpose is to illuminate the path of your unfolding.