One Continuous Mistake

By Jon Bernie

You can’t really follow someone else; ultimately it’s not even possible. A good teacher helps you to find your own way, and supports you in simply living your own life, with all its challenges and pitfalls, while allowing yourself to deepen into the mystery and the insecurity of not knowing.

Naturally you want to get it right, you want to succeed, and that’s fine for a while. But eventually that dynamic is recognized as a means of control, of holding on, of being somebody; and so gradually you learn simply to be awareness, which isn’t holding on to anything, or being anyone or anything. Rather, it is being everything. You learn literally to become one with everything.

As your identity gradually shifts to awareness itself — as you, in a sense, become the light — whatever is still held in is illuminated, revealed, energized and ultimately disintegrated. This can be a very difficult, very painful process, but eventually the addiction or the attachment to getting it right — to being right — just isn’t there anymore. At a certain point you begin to welcome being wrong! You realize that it’s fun to make mistakes. It’s fun to not know. Surprise is a source of joy and aliveness.

So allow yourself to explore and make mistakes, to be creative and not so careful. Instead of worrying about falling off the path, have the willingness to say, “I wonder what would happen if…?” The great Zen master Dogen described the path as one continuous mistake. If it wasn’t like that, he asked, how would you find your way?


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