"Referring to the flood of suffering, someone once asked the Buddha, 'How did you, Lord Buddha, cross the flood?'

"And the Buddha replied, 'Without lingering, friend, and without hurrying across the flood.'

"And then the question came, 'but how did you, without lingering, without hurrying, cross the flood?'

"The Buddha replied, 'Friend, when I lingered, then I sank; when I hurried, I was swept away. So not lingering, not hurrying, I crossed the flood.'

"I love this example for its sense of great delicacy, of ease, of naturalness. Not lingering, not sinking, not drowning, and also not hurrying, not pushing forward in a hasty or stressful manner because of too much expectation. To understand this beautiful balance, we need to understand what acceptance means.

"Acceptance doesn't mean succumbing to what's going on. When we succumb to a situation, we collapse into it or become immersed in it or possessed by it. While trying to cross the flood, instead of moving, we linger and we drown, we get possessed by the waves of the flood, we are overcome by them. Yet acceptance clearly doesn't mean we struggle against the waves. Trying to push against the waves or push them out of the way exhausts us and is futile. We have to use the momentum of each wave on the crossing to help us go along. But it takes a special kind of strength to be able to be this delicate, to be able to be in the middle of the flood, not sinking and not thrashing around.

"The coming of the flood is only accomplished one moment at a time. The art of this accomplishment is the ability to continually begin again. This is the other side of letting go, the doorway letting go reveals. We set forth, we struggle or get muddled or anxious, we lose our balance, and then realizing it, we begin again. We don't need self-recriminations or blame or anger. We need a reawakening of intention and a willingness to recommit, to be wholehearted once again. "Beginning again is the consummate act of practicing equanimity."