Jennifer Warren

Chillin’ at the Zendo, by Jennifer Warren


So, none of us is perfect, right? Such is the case with my last post. I’m talking typos. As a blogger, sometimes errors are due to my poor typing skills. However, more often than not Jpay’s spell check program changes the spelling of the words as I type or will even substitute an entirely different word. Usually, I carefully comb through my emails to correct any errors before I hit the ‘send’ button. That takes care of most problems. Even so, Jpay’s spell check feature routinely deletes the semi colons and dashes from my emails after I have sent them (still haven’t figured that one out).

As it turns out, I was in a bit of a hurry to punch that old send arrow when I composed my last blog post, “TENDING THE TEMPLE”. I was determined to send a post that day and I was running late, which occurs to me as I write this to be a very un-yogi like thing to be doing. It’s like trying to imagine Jesus running late, or something. (Equally hard to imagine Jesus making use of expletives when running late. After all, what would he say?)


One of the core teachings of the yogic tradition is that one must be detached from the fruit of one’s labors. Interestingly, this puts it at odds with certain Buddhist practices which focus on the accumulation of ‘merit’ and avoidance of bad karma. Presumably, this yogic teaching has to do with one’s actions. Over time I have come to understand it as surrendering not only the fruit of one’s good or bad karma, but even the identity one takes on as good or bad, or giving or helpful, or in my case a composer of blog posts that are not full of typos.

If I am interpreting it correctly, I think this teaching makes sense for a couple of reasons. First, I think we tend to become obsessed with our mistakes and thus see our flaws as being much more noticible to others than they really are (think pimple + graduation photo). Second, the minute we construct an idea of the self as someone with flawless skin or in peak condition, or as someone who accurately predicts trends, or other type of expert we are setting ourselves up for eventual failure. Both equate to needless suffering in my book.

Perhaps at the deepest level, this teaching helps us to be more compassionate, more gentle with ourselves and others. Rather than think of the self as less than whole, something forever under construction like the pyramid on the dollar bill, we could choose to embrace the perfection in the imperfection. Being a visual person, I am recalling the poetic images of the disheveled yogi dressed in dirty rags or slightly unnerving dance of the drunken boxer in other words, things that should logically be wrong, but turn out to be just right.

What do you think? Does our worth depend upon a succession of spiritual acrobatics? Is our “potential” what we should focus on? Or, are we perfect just as we are? Don’t hesitate to comment should you feel so inclined. Remember, all phenomena are welcome in the Zendo…

Jennifer Warren
DOC #WF1092

Categories: Jennifer Warren

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