Friday, February 17, 2012

admitting mistakes

Early morning musings:

On page 43 of Allan Lokos' book Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living, the author reports that in a study of successful college students, the successful ones admit to making mistakes and working to overcome them.  If you didn't admit to mistakes, you're less likely to overcome them.

I think of psychoanalysts who present their competencies.  I think in the psychoanalytic world these things are changing, I can think of Bromberg's admission of a mistake in his last book.

I read a lovely interview by Monk's son, the drummer, who said that jazz is all about the recovery.  I've adopted that idea in my works as a psychoanalyst.  It's all about the recovery from mistakes.  Supposedly Kohut talked about recovery from empathic ruptures as being important, though I haven't gotten that far in The Restoration of the Self.

The TBC is led by a man who divulged mistakes while on the annual GFR retreat.  I really admire that about him.

(The chairman of the college of preceptors, who's only job is "yes" or "not yet" to whether people are to be let into the order, is not really in charge of the order, but holds the highest position in the order.  In a way it's really cool there is no pope in the TBC or over Buddhism in general.  Many people project the Dali Lama as the pope of Buddhism, and I'm pretty sure he's an awesome fellow.  But he is not the pope of Buddhism, he's only the leader of one of the many sects of Tibetan Buddhism.)

It's one of my strengths, that I can admit mistakes.  Actually I apologize too much, stemming from my schema of depravation and subjugation.  I remember rebuking a student worker at a job site rather harshly 15-20 years ago.  I apologized to him later.  I had a teacher telling me they felt bad saying "shut up," to a student the other day.  That reminds me of the advice a good friend gave me.  I was complaining that I lost it a lot as a parent.  He said, essentially Sangharakshita's point in his talk about parenting, that you know, you're "up against it."  No reason to expect perfection.  It was a very mettaful response.  I often offer the gift of kindness to those who I see are being overly harsh on themselves.

Another friendly acquaintance, suggested that my spiritual impatience was to be addressed by patience.  And that's what Allan Lakos is writing about in the unnumbered chapter in his interesting book.

I like it that he see patience as seeing things as they really are, and thus it can be very creative and not passive.  I suppose it's superficial to see virtues as superficial.  There is great depth and it's often said that if you take a Buddhist virtue to it's limit, it will take you all the way to enlightenment.

I like this book because I don't think I've read a whole book devoted to patience.  Just like Ratnaguna's book The Art of Reflection, which in a way was revolutionary in that it's the first book on reflection as a spiritual practice in Buddhism.  Bodhipaksa's book on the 6 Element practice was an awesome book in it's own way, and the first I know on that lovely practice.  He's led me through the practice on retreat when I had a deep experience.

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