I put 'progress report' in quotes because I'm not sure that anything that take over 30 years to make modest 'progress' can be called progress. Considering how long it takes, perhaps I should call it a 'Maturity Report'.
Anyway, I may have finally slowed down enough, vis-a-vis the shakuhachi, to [chref=64]deal with a thing while it is still nothing[/chref]. The 'thing' this time is [chref=8]timeliness[/chref] in Honkyoku (i.e., 'blowing Zen'). I wouldn't have thought this would be a concern considering the s-l-o-w nature of the HonKyoku 'tempo'. But, perhaps that actually makes it worse... who knows. Worse in the sense that the issue can be easily overlooked. Specifically, in regards to the shakuhachi, [chref=64]being as careful at the end as at the beginning[/chref] is my big, albeit daily, breakthrough.
Could a teacher have clued me in to this decades ago. Perhaps, but so what? In my view, the only 'learning' that really matters is that which we discover within ourselves, i.e., 'listening' to [chref=43]the teaching that uses no words[/chref]. We can learn techniques and become most skilled, yet still remain completely ignorant 'parrots'. The point is, 'true progress' is not the way that seems to [chref=41]lead forward[/chref]. Indeed, [chref=40]turning back is how the way moves[/chref]. When I can 'move' with the way, I realize what I need to know [chref=17]naturally[/chref] when the time is ripe. Truly this [chref=53]way is easy[/chref]! Expecting more is simply [chref=53]taking the lead in robbery[/chref]!