“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.”