Wednesday, June 8, 2016
There Is No Try
Quit trying. Quit trying not to try. Quit quitting. ~zen saying
Ha! The universe just had a good laugh at my expense. Or perhaps at my benefit. I’ve been “trying” to write this post for days. The basic structure of a post generally comes to me easily. I spend some time editing and polishing, but there is rarely a sense of struggle. But not this one....
I have come at the topic from different angles, using different examples, changing vocabulary, deleting everything and starting over. Nothing seemed to work.
When I was teaching legal writing to law students, I would sometimes encounter a student’s paper that was muddled, either in parts or overall. I would meet with the student, put the paper aside, and ask her to tell me in her own words what she wanted to say. In almost every instance, it was quickly revealed that the problem was not in the writing, but rather in the thinking. The student would realize that she didn’t really know what she wanted to say. By pushing ahead with the writing, she hoped to achieve some clarity, or to convince her reader of some clarity, that was not present in her own mind. That never happens.
This morning, as I sat at the computer befuddled and frustrated, I suddenly sat back and laughed. I saw how hard I was trying to write something about not trying. When I questioned myself, I realized that I had no idea what I wanted to say about this topic. I’m not even sure what the topic is!
How absolutely perfect. The message of this post was not for my readers; it was for me! And now that I think about it, that is surely true for everything I write. A Course in Miracles says that we teach what we want to learn. I am forever a student, and sometimes, like right now, a very humbled one.
So I’m sitting back in my chair and belly breathing, and waiting....
And what comes to me is the scene in Star Wars where Luke Skywalker is tasked with using the Force to lift his space ship from the depths of the swamp into which it sank. He believes it is impossible, but sighs and says he will try. Yoda responds quickly, “No! Do or do not. There is no try.” If you missed the scene, here it is:
Yoda and Luke
Trying is something we value and encourage in this culture. Try, try again is our counterpart to the quotation at the top of the post. But we can easily use this admiration of effort to justify trying to control or force something. Instead, we can align ourselves with an inner harmony. Then, no matter what we call it, there is a sense of energy flowing through us. What needs to happen, happens. There is no try.
PS–Since we are in Star Wars mode, here is my favorite “Force” scene ever. It’s not from the movie; it’s from a commercial! Enjoy.
Darth Vader and the Force