Sunday, August 5, 2012

right and wrong

My mother, who was a pretty good writer, once encouraged me when I was whining about one writing difficulty or another by saying, "Don't get it right. Get it written." It was bang-on advice.

Everyone wants to be right. Everyone hopes to escape being wrong.

But for those with a little gumption and a little time, I think it is good practice to try -- really try -- to do something wrong. It doesn't have to be massively wicked or harmfully stupid, but give it a whirl.

Doing zazen or seated meditation is a good arena in which to practice doing something wrong. Just sit down, cross your legs, erect your spine and then ... do zazen wrong: Let the mind wander and frolic and be depressed or whatever other out-of-focus activity appeals. Go for it. Really do it wrong. Really don't do it right.

Books and teachers may whisper in your mind's ear that this is all wrong. It's messy and not at all peaceful and the exact opposite of doing zazen correctly; it's stupid.

But try it for a half hour or so. Try to do it wrong.

Then, after rising from the cushion, consider ... was it right? Was it wrong? Do right and wrong really play a role? Don't ask anyone else. Just see what you think.

It may be instructive as regards "right" and "wrong."

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