Do you get something wrong every day? That’s “bombu” nature. This Buddhist concept means we never get things completely right: instead we often make a mess of things because we’re human.

Bombu nature means we need to accept we can never achieve the highest levels of excellence, we can never be those shiny perfect beings that we often pretend to be.

Stumble and croak
We walk but we stumble, we sing but we croak, we are virtuous but we are also sinners.

  • You set out to impress your partner and you end up making a fool of yourself. Bombu nature.
  • You promise, in a fit of virtue, to get up at six every morning and run in the park but instead you turn around and stay in bed until 10. Bombu nature.
  • You have read the great books about how to be happy but, somehow, you never implement their excellent advice. Bombu nature.

Accept and laugh

When you accept that you have bombu nature you can stop judging yourself against a standard of excellence that is almost impossible to meet. You can learn to laugh at yourself instead of condemning yourself. You even learn to laugh at other people’s failings instead of condemning them.

So an awareness of our bombu nature can be very liberating. And it doesn’t have to be an excuse for being slovenly, lazy, irresponsible and so on: it’s about being an accepting and understanding friend to yourself.

When you accept you’re never going to be up and running in the part at six am you might allow yourself to get up at eight and take a walk in the park at lunchtime.

Remember that acceptance really needs to include acceptance of ourselves as well as others or it is an incomplete acceptance. Recognising the bombu nature in ourselves and in others can help us to cultivate that acceptance.