There's the Buddhist story of Angulimala, an unrepentant killer who followed closely in the Buddha's tracks one day, with the intent to kill him. But somehow, he could not catch up with the Buddha, and the Buddha just kept on walking. Angulimala cried out in frustration, "Won't you just stop?" The Buddha replied, "I have stopped, Angulimala. It is you who has not stopped." Angulimala said, "How so? How have you stopped? You keep walking." The Buddha replied, "I have stopped running after things, I have stopped getting caught up in greed and hatred." Angulimala was struck by Buddha's demeanor and what he said, became a disciple of the Buddha, renounced his past lifestyle, and became enlightened.
I mention this story because it was evoked by something I saw today in myself.
I do not know how to stop doing, how to stop trying to get more out of things, how to stop trying to build a better mousetrap. If I'm not getting what I want out of one approach, I try another. And then another. This works with some things, but for many things it does not, and usually it does not work for the things that matter most in life: love, relationship, and realization of truth.
I realized: most of our problems are solved not by doing more or doing something different, but by stopping doing whatever dysfunctional thing it is we are doing. Therapy works because it helps us see the behaviors that damage our relationships and/or other aspects of our lives, learn what is emotionally compelling about continuing with this dysfunctional behavior, resolve the emotional compulsion, and stop the behavior. We can learn new techniques and new behaviors, but it's more about what we stop doing.
All the more with the spiritual path. I keep sitting on the cushion, waiting and hoping for some kind of "enlightenment" or "kensho" to happen. But what am I doing? I'm trying to use techniques to make a certain outcome happen. It doesn't work that way. I see it's not about finding a different way to try to make it happen, but stopping trying to make anything happen.
It's not necessary to use any new techniques or spiritual technology, to get smarter and more proficient. Just stop picking up the hot coals, stop getting sucked into the storyline, stop looking for something different, stop trying to wrench life into a different form. Stop trying to sit more regularly, stop trying to make yourself into a 'good Zen student.' Just drop all of it. What a relief.
Easier to say this than to do it, though... :lol: