Those of you who have done any writing know that sometimes the hardest¬ part of trying to write is simply getting started. We all have a hundred ways of procrastinating. And when we do begin, writing that first draft may be harder than anything that comes later. That first draft is where we're supposed to simply let it all hang out - put our every thought. association, and provisional phrasing down on paper as the raw material for what we're trying to eventually shape into a finished and polished work. And it can be downright embarrassing to confront that unedited mess on the page. The temptation is always to edit ourselves as we go, to censure, to improve, to normalize what we're saying, so that even in our first draft, we are already pruning away the parts that seem unsightly or the awkward.
Allen Ginsberg once advised would-be writers, "First thought, best thought." He took a lot of flak for that from people who thought he was simply advocating a lazy unwillingness to edit or revise. But the truth I think he was pointing to is that that first unedited thought is often far more unconventionally original,. more idiosyncratic, odder and more creative, than what the internal "editor" in all of us usually thinks appropriate. And when we edit and try to improve that raw first thought, sometimes we end up with something tamer, and something less uniquely our own.
When we sit, moment by moment, we are presented with a "first draft" of ourselves. And immediately we try to shape or edit that moment's experience into something we find familiar, comfortable, or meaningful. When Freud told his patients to free associate, he was trying to get them to observe just how impossible it was for them to do so, and to look at what they characteristically were editing out of their narrative. Our practice is simply to be as open to an unedited version of life as we can. And it's particularly important when you come into daisan. The point is not to show me how well you're doing, or to put the best face possible on your practice for my approval, but to completely be yourself. "Being just this moment," means a willingness to be that unedited, first draft of yourself, and to be part of Life as it is.