It presents daily conflicts as well as countless learning opportunities for many on a daily basis. How to manage the little things in life, as well as trying to have a bigger picture view of the whole she-bang. And how to put it all together – and just have a worry-free outlook on life.
But one fantastic author we’ve been following for over two decades is Brenda Shoshanna. A modern-day Zen practitioner who has impeccably sent out digests of wisdom without fail each week since we discovered her 20 years ago. And a recent tidbit we felt was worth sharing.
LIFE IS ONE CONTINUOUS MISTAKE
By Brenda Shoshanna
Night and day we strive for perfection and fear making a mistake. And when we do err, the hand wringing and self-recriminations can go on forever. They can freeze us in our tracks, and stop us from living a fulfilled life. In addition, our sense of worth and value is often tied to being right, doing things “right”, walking the “right” path. But who is the One who decides what is right at this moment, what is valuable and good?
When we make a so-called mistake, we can learn a great deal and become empowered to behave in a much more compassionate and useful way the next time around. It can even be good to make a mistake, it could be the best thing that can happen right now. Wrong turns to right, and the other way around.
This wonderful quote from a great Zen teacher Dogen, tells us that so-called mistakes are actually inevitable, bound into the very fabric of life. How else can we grow and develop? Not only that, the quote suggests that life itself is nothing but a huge mistake!
We constantly misunderstand others and ourselves. We get caught in the world of appearances and believe things are stable and will last forever just as they are. We do not take the much needed time to stop and explore the very nature of who we really are and the world we are bobbing up and down in.
Dogen recommends that we take a moment, pause and spend time to make friends with our mistakes, explore them, not with blame, guilt or self-hate, but with curiosity and even amusement. What is the root cause of the confusion we all live with? Where does it arise from? How can we take this huge mistake we’ve been living in and turn it into real light and healing?
Exercise: Enjoy Each Mistake
- Take a look at one mistake you’ve made that causes great distress.
- Make friends with the mistake, Forget about punishing yourself, instead see where the mistake came from? What is really a mistake? Who said so?
- How did the mistake change you? Did you grow, what did you learn?
- Can you honor the mistake as a beloved teacher, thank it for coming and then let it go?