"Do you have permission to do this?"
The question still echoes within. What a wonderful koan. From whom must I get permission to live and express the fullness of my experience? Who is the Ultimate One who can or should validate my life and efforts to express its meaning? Where does the true validation come from when we feel deeply good about something we have offered?
This koan goes deeper. It asks whether we must fit into a pre-planned system. Who and where is the true authority we must answer to?
We set up authorities of all kinds, and then seek permission from them to be who we are. So often these authorities fall from their pedestal. We then blame them for our own unwillingness to step into life and make the contribution that was right for us.
Isn't this the very reason we practice zazen, to reclaim the authority and wisdom of our true inner self? It can be argued that when we do that, we can then make big mistakes. Are big mistakes bad? Aren't they simply a step towards our next unfolding? If we fear making mistakes, fear being rejected, if we always seek permission, this itself causes our life force to be cramped and distorted in many ways.
Isn't this craving for approval, permission and external validation the very force that stops us from trusting ourselves and what is possible for us? Can we just take our next step naturally and bravely, making it our own?
"Do not shoot with another's bow
Do not breathe breath through another's nostrils."