"Life is one continuous mistake."
— Dogen Zenji
If we are truly able to absorb this statement it becomes much easier to become real. One continuous mistake relieves us of false feelings of shame, guilt, and self-hate when we fumble and err. It boldly and clearly informs us that the very nature of life itself forces us to fall down, make mistakes, be made a fool of, and then to get up again. It is this very process of life itself that diminishes foolish pride we are so filled with.
During my life and Zen practice if there has been a pothole in the street, like clockwork, I fall into it. If there was a mistake to be made, I made it. Not only once, but again and again. Instead of fearing to walk out of the house, I have learned to enjoy being in the potholes when I land there and spend time looking around. Rather than hating myself or the potholes, I just simply say, "Oh, blind again."
After fully experiencing a particular pothole, as many times as I fall in, getting out becomes easier. By now I have become quite good at falling into potholes and just climbing out. As a result of all this, I am quite familiar with the terrain of potholes and find a particular beauty in them. As I have done this many times, they hold less attraction to me. Now I fall in and get out in a matter of moments, no damage, no shame.— Brenda Shoshanna, Dogen Zenji in Zen Miracles by Brenda Shoshanna