Be Soft, Go for the Matador

Be soft with your practice. Think of method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. It’ll go meandering here, and trickling there. It’ll find the grooves, the cracks, and the crevices. Just follow it, never let it out of your sight, and it will take you.” – Shen Yen

If the bull went for the Matador he would get the flag too.  When he goes directly for the flag he always misses.

Vipassana is something we should attend softly.  Stubborn tactics won’t get us anywhere. If we are to approach every aspect of our lives with our practice, we might want to be as gentle as possible.  Some parts of it may be scary, dark, creepy places that nobody wants to see.  These things come up, and when they do we should not avoid them, but don’t shine the flashlight right at them.

I’m referring to my writing practice when I say, approach it from the side.  When I write, I often time myself; ten minutes, twenty minutes, one hour. It’s a discipline to sit there through the entire time, just like it is to sit and meditate for a solid hour without moving. If I’m crying, I keep writing.  That’s the practice.  That brings the inspiration.  Sometimes, inspiration is a mess. I might sit down and want to write about Vipassana.  What can I come up with for this week’s blog?  Chances are I’ll start writing about my grandmother’s birthday dinner before I make my way to awareness and equanimity.  This is just how things go, and so I flow with it.

We can’t always say what we want to say.  Sometimes our awareness isn’t there.  Sometimes we feel like it’s a waste of time.  When I taught my first art lesson recently, I didn’t know what I was doing.  I sat next to the girl I was teaching, to feel like less of a threat to myself.  This helped me dance my way into it, rather than staring at her like a bull thinking, what should I show her?  Keep it in the peripherals.  Like Shen Yen says, just follow it, never let it out of your sight, and it will take you.  Just don’t look at it straight on if it’s going to blind you.  Keep watching and eventually you’ll get to the point, whether it’s the awareness you’re looking for or the right thing to say.

As Victor Wooten says in his book, The Music Lesson, “Don’t try hard, try easy.”

Be soft.

7 thoughts on “Be Soft, Go for the Matador

  1. Anonymous

    A nice article but please check your facts. Your quote at the top is attributed to Jiddu Krishnamurti. To anyone who has read more than one word of Krishnamurti, there is something obviously very wrong here, because Krishnamurti repudiated all methods and practices. He also wrote in a very different style, rather precise and unsentmental – quite unlike the vague and informal style of the quote. But I am not just quibbling about style – the wishy-washy romanticism that embues your quote is a million miles from Krishnamurti. A quick google reveals that the true author is someone called Shen Yen as quoted by Thomas Moore in “The Soul’s Religion”

  2. Anthony Ross

    Good to know and a good quote none the less. I’ve read Krishnamurti and that’s true, but I feel this is something he would say anyway, considering it’s almost like saying, “be free with your methods, if you have one”
    The quote was off of a daily calendar a few years ago, that I kept all the quotes from. It said it was Krishnamurti who said it, I just didn’t look into it further.

  3. Anonymous

    Anthony, you can say whatever you like. You can believe whatever you like. But be careful. Its very easy to deceive yourself and many things that we like to believe are simply not true. Your ideas are very nice, but I have to tell you that the real Krishnamurti does not fit in at all with these ideas
    The fact is that it is absolutely NOT “something Krishnamurti would say” He is always very explicit and very clear about rejecting all methods and systems. That is why I am rather surprised to hear that you have read him at all. (Are you sure? Perhaps it was really someone else that you read?) Take a look for yourself – there is an official Krishnamurti’s website. with a search feature.
    I did a quick search of the word “method” on his entire teaching. From hundreds of articles and talks it comes up with 20 results and.every single one of them strongly repudiates all methods. He never says anything remotely like “feel free to follow any method”. It is just the opposite. Again and again he says you must abandon all methods. There is no method that leads to Truth Love Enlightenment etc

  4. Yes, I’m afraid I have to agree with “Anonymous” re: K. He was not caught by any system, method, technique or dogma whatsoever. I read most of his earlier works – up through the one on education… he was sorta my practice for a number of years, just trying to get what he was all about, and due to being ‘captured’ by the Theosophists when he was young, he strongly repudiated any theoretical structure or conceptualizations. He was the original “just do it” guy. But I still enjoyed your piece – it’s a refreshing change from much of the Vipassana dogma.

  5. Anthony Ross

    For the die hard Krishnamurti anonymous fan.
    Sure, statistics and stuff – Krishnamurti didn’t say that. I agree, and changed it on the post.
    For you, the most complete talk I’ve listened to by him is the conversation between him and Dr. Allan W. Anderson. It’s an 18 hour talk that I’ve listened to twice. Gives the needed time to go deeply into these matters of life, compared to the usual 1 hour talks you usually find elsewhere. I highly recommend it to anyone.
    As for what the quote says, and how Krishnamurti speaks, I agree again on looking back at it that it doesn’t quite sound like him, but back again to what Krishnamurti is all about – don’t get caught up in the words. How does it help you? If not, they mean nothing, doesn’t matter who said it.

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