By Margaret Pounders

In this broad earth of ours
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and safe within its central heart,
Nestles the seed of Perfection.

The great mystic-poet Walt Whitman, in his “Song of the Universal,” expressed a truth that most of us recognize as an ideal but not as reality. We perceive that somewhere within us exists that spark of divinity, the “seed of Perfection.” Jesus, however, said, “You, therefore, must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

For centuries, Jesus' words have been brushed aside as meaning: “You really ought to be perfect” (a nice idea, but of course we can't attain it); or “You should strive to be perfect” (God appreciates our efforts, though we'll never make it); or “If you want to go to heaven when you die, you'd better be perfect!” (but since God knows this is impossible, God sacrificed His son on a cross to take away our sins). Somewhere along the way another concept arose: “You're not perfect now, but someday, after this life is over, you'll be perfect” (a total change in consciousness brought about by the mere event of physical death?).

These are not the teachings of Jesus. He did not waste time on futile idealisms. He was a practical man whose purpose was to show us how to live the abundant life. He was not speaking of duty or of attempting to become something we cannot become or even of potentiality. Jesus was speaking Truth and fact—right here and now.

If there were some question as to our biological classification or species, it might be resolved thusly: “You, therefore, must be human, as your earthly parents are human.” Logical? Of course. There is no question that we ought to be or should be human, or that someday, through the grace and sacrifice of our parents, we might achieve some degree of humanity. We are human. It is our nature and cannot be denied.

In this same manner, we are spiritually perfect. This, too, is our nature and cannot be denied.

A beautiful pecan tree, perhaps a hundred years old, grows in our front yard. I hold its fruit in my hand. The pecan is small, less than an inch long and a half inch in diameter. Yet as it falls to the ground, all the forces of nature begin the process that results in a pecan tree.

In your imagination, gaze with me at that tiny pecan. Hold it in your hand, then visualize the as it rowers above our two-story home. The two look nothing alike, and we know this tree cannot return to this small protective shell that burst away so long ago. We know, too, that the tree and the pecan cannot be separated, for inherent within this pecan are all the essential elements to produce a tree. Within this pecan is an idea—the idea of a tree, a very specialized kind of tree.

The same is true of each of us. Nestled safe within our central heart is “the seed of Perfection,” the idea of that very specialized spiritual being that we are.

Were you to enter a kitchen and find a cake in the process of being mixed, you would note little resemblance between the conglomeration of ingredients in the mixing bowl and the finished product. Yet most of us have taken part in this or seen its results so often that we take for granted that these seemingly unrelated items become a cake. Likewise, we look at a pecan and know that within it is the tree. Why, then, do we fail to perceive our own nature? Perhaps the reason is that we dwell in a misconception of time. It seems to take about an hour to make a cake, a few years to grow a tree, yet time beyond comprehension to perfect a human being. In Truth, there is no time, and this “seed of Perfection” planted at our “central heart” exists in fullness—now.

There is no conflict between the words of Whitman that we possess the “seed of Perfection” and the words of Jesus that we “must be perfect.” There is no difference in the seed and its product. They are one and the same. The paradox is our inability to recognize what we are. Right now, this moment, regardless of appearance, we are as perfect as we will ever be!

What we are experiencing is an event taking place. If our awareness were expanded, we could see that what we think of as confusion, harmony, error, right judgment, chaos, positives and negatives, are only the coming together of the parts of the whole, which together make up the completed event.

We, as human beings, perceive in microscopic segments, while in Truth all things exist concurrently. If we could see beyond this experience, we would know our perfected idea in completion.

As we walk along a road, we see a small portion of the world. If we raise our vantage point by looking from the window of a building or an airplane, we observe a fuller view.

The three-dimensional senses do not grasp the totality of our being. This we perceive with an inner faculty. Space, time, and motion run parallel in the human experience. In Truth, however, they are one.

Margaret Pounders is a minister at Unity Church of Irving in Irving, Texas. This article is an excerpt froom her book, Laws of Love.