In Vine of Obstacles practice meetings, a passage from The Connected Discourses of the Buddha has been coming up for me frequently as I meet with Viner students. After stumbling to find the right quote in my unreliable memory, I finally did a search to find a deity of stunning beauty questioning the Buddha like this:
“How, dear sir, did you cross the flood?”
“By not halting, friend, and by not straining I crossed the flood.”
“But how is it, dear sir, that by not halting and by not straining you crossed the flood?”
“When I came to a standstill, friend, then I sank; but when I struggled, then I got swept away. It is in this way, friend, that by not halting and by not straining, I crossed the flood.”
For one thing, the interaction says a lot about the teacher’s role in the teacher-student relationship. “Hey, swimmer, looks like you’re halting.” Or “Hey, swimmer, looks like you’re straining.”
And in recovery from “minor” surgery, it speaks to me about how to heal – without halting and without straining.
And how do we find what’s halting and what’s straining?
Halting and straining.
So back to the couch.