Art Of Allowing, 1

Article on Art of Allowing


Make No Mistake

it is the belief

in mistakes

that leads one

to mistakes

This morning I posted this poem on my blog that features short zen poems and koans. I wrote this poem down some three or four days ago and just now got around to posting it. The whole idea has been rolling around in my awareness for a while, and though a number of versions have come out, including this one–

Make No Mistake

believing in mistakes

is the only mistake

I am holding to the original, as it has something particular to it that is not in this slimmer version. It is an important difference, and I would like to go into it here. The poem occurred to me in meditation practice as much of my poetry does. It may not be clear at first glance, but the subject of the poem is “stilling the mind”.

I do not make it a habit of explaining my poems, as they express something real and experiential in an elegant manner that cannot be readily expressed by prose. I want to make an exception with this poem because the subject is fascinating me at the moment.

Inner Lives and Outer Lives

As excited as we all may get about our inner lives, we still have a biological and material world to manage. I know very few people who make a living doing what they love. Work life for most seems to be full of compromises. This remains a deep frustration for those who wish to practice a meditative life in day-to-day activities— life as meditation.

Working the land would likely be a different story, yet living and working among others who do not share our ideas or aspirations can lead to conflict on many levels. Starting meditation does help us to both minimize stress and deepen our sense of inner peace– and this often carries over into other areas of lives. So, is this the most that we can expect?

To get back to this poem, I want to take a closer look at the nature of mistakes. From a Zen and Taoist point of view, the experience of no-mind (or empty mind) is a great remedy to the problems that appear to emerge out of the apparent contrast between “inner” and “outer” life. To the degree that we can stay out of our heads, we do feel more peaceful.

Choice-Making and a Fear of Mistakes

So much of our “outer” or “materialistic” lives deal with us making choices. We are headed somewhere and we try and steer our ways along these paths as best we can. We struggle to make the best decisions and naturally regard the alternatives to these wise choices as mistakes. What invariably drives us into our heads is the process of choice-making– the fear of mistakes.

If we accept that the experience of dimension is secondary to our inner lives, then it becomes clear that our true selves never actually go anywhere. It is our preoccupation with direction and path that brings up all of this stress. If our start and finish are the same then does it matter what shape our biological and circumstantial lives take?

Dimension is temporary while who we are is eternal. Our heart goes right on beating without our influence. Our bodies function wholly without any decisions. It is the wisdom of nature that keeps all this in harmony– so where does this harmony stop and something else begin? Does our human behavior (due to “free will”) escape Mother Nature’s wisdom?

Meditation Techniques
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