Mistakes, Honesty, Ojas, and Personal Brand

Scrubbing the Floor
February 10, 2021

How to relate to our fear of making mistakes and the rampant dishonesty and self-projection that is life normal now. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

Podcast First Words

So there’s an elderly Kagyu teacher named Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche. When I was living in Berkeley long, long ago and far away, I had a really wonderful opportunity to go to a retreat with him.

That was the only time I ever sat with him, but it was one of the most life changing experiences. Just being around him was such a demonstration and a transmission of what this is all about.

He didn’t say this during that retreat, but there’s this quote that I found of his: “Mistaking, mistaking, I follow the unmistaken path.” I really love this because, of course, we live in this culture where everyone is just so afraid of being wrong, so afraid of making mistakes, that it’s almost paralyzing. In fact it actually is paralyzing, it’s not almost paralyzing.

People live their lives trying to avoid the appearance of being wrong or having made a mistake. I mean, they’re not even afraid of the consequences of the mistake. They just don’t want to be seen to have made one. This is really a disease of our culture here in the United States.

What Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche is saying is that the path is made up of stumbling, that we stumble along. And that’s how we reach knowledge of the self. And what does that stumbling actually consist of? Well, it just consists of trying our best—trying our best to understand the view, trying our best to do practice, trying our best to let the practice do its work and not interfere with it too much. Trying our best not to get distracted from what’s really important to us, what we really value. Trying our best to integrate our practice and be in the state of our practice.

But of course, I mean, 90% of the time we are failing at that. [laughter] And that’s also God showing up like that. The mistakes, or what we call mistakes, are part of the path.


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.