“failing” (a response to Marcus)

One of the most touching points, for me, in Marcus’ speech, was the matter of fact affirmation and admonition that, “I’m going to fail.”

There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t fail, obviously or subtly, outwardly or inwardly. A wonderful thing that I’ve learned from the teachings is not to get upset with myself about it. I observe with what mind I made this mistake, and, as Marcus put it, “re-orientate” myself.

Reading his speech, I was immediately reminded of the first meeting I had with Ven. Sandima. We were discussing the focus on breath in meditation.”When you find you have wondered away,” he said, “don’t get upset or angry at yourself, just come home! Return to your home!”

In Sandima Bikkhu’s analogy, “home” was the breath, but the same analogy may be applied to the precepts (among many other things), making them your home to return to, again and again. Another wonderful thing about this is that you are essentially learning to forgive yourself. Once you experience that forgiveness in yourself, how can you not then extend it to others?

5 thoughts on ““failing” (a response to Marcus)”

  1. What a beautiful and very useful analogy between following the breath and following the precepts. Wonderful. Wonderful. Thank you so much.
    _/\_

  2. Of course “I’m going to fail.” Why not. I’m human and ‘Nobody’s perfect’… And I think: ‘failing’ is our big chance! When we meditate and discover we’re not ‘here’ we can take the opportunity to ‘come home’ (lovely expression!), not only in meditation but also in real life. In this moment when i realize that ‘i’m failing’ i’m kind of having a break and i can change. I can stopp doing the same fault again, saying the wrong word and start an old discussion again, can stopp complaining and instead doing something efficient. So i think, it doesn’t matter to fail. Not to realize it and try to change habits is the real fault. and we are improving, aren’t we ? 😉

  3. Thank you Chong Go Sunim and Marcus,

    For these words on failing. As s I happily accept becoming an author here, I think about how I represent what is being taught and aspired to, and such ideas as just “go home” help a lot, like the phrase “Saints are sinners who keep trying.”

    Guilt is a useless emotion, but an active conscience is a great faculty.

    We must forgive, beginning with ourselves, lest we not forgive others.

    1. Hey Carl,
      thanks for the comment!
      All we need is Joe to get himself over here, all we’ll be hard to stop!

      “Coming home” was one of the most helpful teachings I’ve received.
      It saves you from a lot of agitation that can usually bring a good sit to a sudden halt.

      I’m eager to see you post something!

      Joseph

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