I just started Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind at the recommendation of someone I work with at my new place of employment. It's the kind of book that looks vaguely familiar, like I've seen it on the bookshelves of many friends or acquaintances passing in and out of my life.
The author is the founder of the first zen monastery in the United States, and he taught at the Zen Center in San Francisco. According to his students, who wrote the introduction for the book, he was so intrigued by the beginner's mind in the United States that he decided never to return home to Japan. This book is a loving transcription of his recorded teachings.
The book is broken up into sections: Right Practice, RIght Attitude, and RIght Understanding. In section one of part one he says,
"Doing something is expressing our own nature. We do not exist for the sake of something else. We exist for the sake of ourselves."
How often does fear of criticism hold us back? If we exist only for ourselves, and doing something is an expression of ourselves, then we are expressing ourselves for ourselves as well.
I'm taking action very seriously these days. In Making Ideas Happen Scott Belsky quotes Seth Godin who explains, "'the reason that I've managed a modicum of success is because I just keep shipping.'... Godin made the case that shipping is an active mind-set rather than a passive circumstance." He ships out books, blog posts, art pieces, and who knows what else other highly successful people produce. He produces things and doesn't let himself hesitate.
In the end my dream is to live doing my purpose. My purpose is to write songs and perform for people. I've put a lot of time into that and while my results aren't great, I'm getting really good at doing the actual process. But what if I apply what Shunryu Suzuki was teaching in the quote above? Scrutinizing my songs and criticizing myself for writing songs that suck is existing for the sake of the song. Getting really good at sitting down and writing and finishing something is building the valuable foundation I need, and as those pathways are lubricated and used to being used, I will have more freedom and confidence within the method. Because doing something is pure and it expresses the self no matter what.
So go do you!!!!!