Awhile back, I reminded our Treeleaf Ango-ers that there are no mistakes in Ango, no way that life can intervene, that obstacles are just "opportunities for Practice" ...
... that ALL OF LIFE IS PRACTICE!
However, I certainly did not mean that one could just do the parts of Practice that one likes or is moved by, skipping the rest. I did not mean that, just because there are "no mistakes", such was an excuse to be careless or slack, being forgetful, just practicing whenever and however in hell we want! Although "life can NEVER intervene, and ALL of life is Practice" (yes, even how we play video games and how we watch TV), that does not mean we can just let life intervene, and consider that watching TV or playing a video game is the same as Practice and Zazen! To do so is to miss the central part of this practice ... dropping resistance to our aversions and attractions, dropping attachments and renouncing those things we hunger for ... dropping anger and other excess or otherwise harmful emotions ... finding balance in life neither too loose nor too tight, moving forward with diligence and sincerity and energy ... even as there is No Place to Go! In this Middle Way beyond "right and wrong" "easy and hard" "doing and non-doing" ...
... nonetheless, ONE CAN DO ANGO WRONG!
One can be too loose in this Practice, just as one can be too tight! One can run toward or away from what we like or dislike and resist, forgetting that this is a Practice founded upon dropping all "likes and dislikes" and resistance! Remember this week's portion of the Xin Xin Ming ... neither hard or easy ... neither fearful, slack and irresolute nor charging forward ...
To live in the Great Way
is neither easy nor difficult,
but those with limited views
are fearful and irresolute:
the faster they hurry, the slower they go.
Ours is the 'Middle Way' ... but that does not mean any namby pamby, fence sitting, half hearted way that's middling, making do, mediocre and muddling through!
I often repeat the story of Buddha, Sona and the Lute Strings ...
"I was able to produce good music, Lord," replied Sona.
"What happened when the strings were too tightly wound up?"
"I could not produce any music, Lord," said Sona.
"What happened when the strings were too slack?"
"I could not produce any music at all, Lord," replied Sona
"Sona ... You have been straining too hard in your meditation. Do it in a relaxed way, but without being slack. Try it again and you will experience the good result."