How Paddling a Kayak Relates to Real Life

It is surprising how much an intensive personal growth course can change you, even engaged in such a simple activity as paddling a kayak.

I like to paddle hard and go fast.  Since the course, I have noticed something very different about how I paddle my kayak, and what goes on in my mind as I paddle.

Each wave is a small challenge: I like to try to beat each one.  When going with the waves, I like to pass each one, travelling slightly faster than the speed of the waves.

Normally, I look at each wave as I approach it, a small but noticeable force to be overcome.

This morning, I looked beyond the waves, beyond the water, to the shore and the clouds.  What a surprising difference that made!

My mind became quiet.  I really enjoyed my surroundings.  I also noticed that my paddling became much stronger, no matter how strongly waves came at me.

But then I would notice that the mind-chatter had started again.  I had stopped paying attention to the big picture.  I found that I was looking down at the bow of the boat again, that my paddling effort dropped off noticeably, and with it my speed.  By concentrating on my actions, my actions became weaker.

Realizing this, I looked up again, and my mind became quite once more.  By concentrating on my goal (the distant shore) my paddling became stronger and my way sure.
I think that it is impossible to concentrate on your goal, and have the mind distracted by irrelevant thoughts.  If your mind is full of irrelevant thoughts, you are concentrating on obstacles, not your goal.  This slows you down, it can even stop you.  Concentrate on your goal instead, and the irrelevant thoughts evaporate.  You just get on with the job and make steady progress.


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