Who put me on a leash? Taking Tokudo – Mark Kogan Shawcroft

I was not sure about writing anything about this. Then whilst watching the Falcon and the Winter Soldier I got a real surprise. The Falcon had just reluctantly taken the mantle of being the new Captain America. He was wracked with self doubt. He was not sure he could live up to the ideal. He seemed to feel he lacked something the original Captain America had. Then as he got into his first fight as the new Captain America his adversary knew just how to sap his strength with the right taunt: “You may wear the robe but you’re no monk”.

A bolt to the heart. Let’s see how your imposter syndrome handles that.

This all sounded and felt familiar.

When I asked to take Tokudo I was enthusiastic about doing it. Then when Roshi finally said yes I became full of anxiety. Why did I have to open my big mouth? That feeling of dread arose. An old friend. Like a catfish that had been feeding on the bottom for years. I felt it had gone away but it was just feeding itself up in the darkness. Waiting to surface and spoil my party. Why was I so intent? What was I trying to prove? Were my intentions from the right place? I have two young children and I am the main carer for them. I can’t always go on sesshin and feel maybe I have little to offer. Little flexibility in my life. I felt a whinge coming on.

If I have little to offer, is this just personal vanity? My head was awash with doubts.


To be something or to be humble.

To get some standing or sitting.

To feel some sense of progression.

To be universally kind.

To be so sincerely untrue.

A rung on the ladder

A drop in ocean

To test myself

To fool myself

To let myself conform

To adorn myself in Buddhahood

To dance with the cosmic jester

To hope

To fail

To burn

To be

Or not to be.

Shakespeare, please don’t get involved, my head’s full already.


Am I worthy?

Because I don’t know.

How do you know?

Does it matter?

Maybe being unworthy is better, more dirt under your finger nails.

Maybe that soil’s fertile.


Who am I kidding? The more I think on it the more I don’t know what it is I am thinking on.


As I drive up

Put my music on shuffle

First tune “The sinking feeling” by The The

How ironic

The car seems to be making fun of me.

Why so serious?

I start to laugh

Bloody invented drama!

And nothing wakes me up

Except a lorry 1 inch from my bumper.


Tension dissolves.

Returning to not knowing what a relief.


What was that saying

Cut of a priests head and his heart will sing.


I don’t really know what a zen monk is.

I don’t really know what an imposter is.


What if I am an imposter because I is an imposter. I is faking it. Because I always is.


In the end these questions and emotions they dug up made me feel sick.

But led me right back to ground I felt happy on.

To listen to my heart.

To accept it had a knowledge beyond reason.


Only this life.

Don’t sit on the fence.

Be anxious.

Enjoy it.


And what of it.

Everyone was very kind.

I felt very grateful.

I attempted to be all zen

A little stoic

Ended up crying

My car would have laughed.


What about the new Captain America

He did okay.

He cracked some skulls and saved some lives.

He had to take a risk.

He was not set in stone.

Neither am I.


Rub my eyes.

Let it pour in.

I am not fixed.


Its not okay to be a Slave.