always full, intrinsically complete, perfect, and joyful

In Sanskrit, one of the words for perfection is purna, usually translated as fullness or wholeness. Indian yogic texts tell us that everything in this world arises from and is contained inside one single energy, or shakti. This energy is always full, intrinsically complete, perfect, and joyful. What’s more, it is present in all forms, thoughts, and states of being. That one energy is as much in the dirty dishes in your sink as in the notes of a Mozart violin concerto or the violet eyes of 19-year-old Elizabeth Taylor. When we are in touch with that energy, all dichotomies—light and dark, good and bad, male and female—are resolved, and all apparent imperfections are revealed as part of the whole. To celebrate this amazing fact, in India, a “fullness” mantra is frequently sung after auspicious events. Translated into English, it’s “That is perfect. This is perfect. From the perfect springs the perfect. If the perfect is taken from the perfect, the perfect remains.”

—Sally Kempton, from “Making Peace with Perfection”

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