MorningMysore

failure

I really enjoyed this post from donutszenmom: http://donutszenmom.wordpress.com/2007/01/18/rant/

Lately, in my work life, I’ve been thinking about why folks are so afraid of failure. And, conversely, why I’m not so concerned about failure. Is it me? Am I a slacker to think failure’s okay?

At practice this morning, I realized I’ve always failed. Practicing taekwondo, climbing, running, even lifting weights — the rule is: go to failure. Same deal with Ashtanga. And zazen.

… [taekwondo, climbing, zazen] …

And all of this, of course, brings us to Ashtanga. Ashtanga is designed to bring you face to face with what you can’t do, every single day. Even if you have an exquisite practice, you will, every day, end with a pose you just can’t do. Is that failure? Yeah, it is. And it’s exactly where you learn about acceptance and patience and humor and despair and ambition and greed and humiliation and grace.

I’m so tired of fear of failure. Fear of failure is all about letting the ego think it’s better than reality. Reality is where clumsiness is, and gravity, and obsessive thoughts, and resistant muscle and bone. It’s where we’re human.

2 thoughts on “failure

  1. adarsh

    “Ashtanga is designed to bring you face to face with what you can’t do, every single day.”

    This is an interesting thought. It reminds me of a warning I once received when studying meditation. I was told that at first I would be drawn to how exotic the trappings of the meditation hall would be. I would be romanced by the sights of monks in their ochre robes and impressed by the incense and bells. For some time the idea of meditation would be so exciting that I would really get into it- I’d go out and purchase a cushion to sit on, maybe some meditation-specific clothing, and read up on the subject. But eventually, the warning continued, I would be served a plate of rocks. At this point the actual work would begin and I would be presented a choice- to say “this stuff isn’t working,” jump ship, and find another tradition to be romanced by or to continue with my practice and dare to go deep.

    I’ve found that anything (hobbies, yoga, relationships) that I’ve gone past the “honeymoon” phase with eventually serves me a plate of rocks. The rocks are a part of reality rather than idealism or the notion that life should be easy. Initially, they represent limitation but ultimately provide me with something to really work with and expand my boundaries.

    It seems that donutszenmom is well acquainted and rather comfortable with that plate of rocks.
    And she’s right, anyone that really sticks with their practice, whatever their practice is eventually fails… and succeeds….and…

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