Constantly focusing

Malte comments on my previous post, asking “Did Gail figure that out by herself, writing at least one haiku a day with no exceptions? It sounds very ‘budo’ to me.”

The expression “one continuous mistake” comes from Dogen Zenji, the first patriarch of the Soto school of Zen. It refers to Zen practice, but I feel it to be a central theme in Eastern philosophy. Basically, it’s about creating accidents, learning from them, listening to them and controlling it, or guiding it in the direction it wants to go.

Sher herself is a Zen practitioner, so she’s probably influenced by her Zen training. What she teaches in her book is what could be called “zazen writing”, that is writing with the mindset of zazen (sitting Zen meditation), which basically is about seeing clearly, registering and letting go.

Malte writes about his Aikido practice: “to master the bokken (wooden-sword), performing one concentrated cut a day would be enough. That’s one cut, not two, not zero.” I’m sure that successful Aikido practice involves maintaining the “Aikido mindset” in all things you do. One cut with the bokken each day, in a sense, makes the time between cuts be “a prelude to the the next cut” – so only using the bokken once a day can be viewed as constantly being focused on the bokken. That’s what it’s about.

The above was posted to my personal weblog on June 14, 2002. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.


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