A monk set off on a long pilgrimage to find the Buddha. He devoted many years to his search until he finally reached the land where the Buddha was said to live. While crossing the river to this country, the monk looked around as the boatman rowed. He noticed something floating towards them. As it got closer, he realized that it was the corpse of a person. When it drifted so close that he could almost touch it, he suddenly recognized the dead body – it was his own! He lost all control and wailed at the sight of himself, still and lifeless, drifting along the river’s currents. That moment was the beginning of his liberation.
There can be no good without evil, no wrong without right. There always has to be a balance, a point at which things settle into place. You have to take the bad with the good in everything you do. Paddling is no different. I started progressing after a couple years of getting my feet wet. At the point when I became most comfortable in what I was doing mentally and physically, I reached a point of satisfaction in my personal achievements through paddling. Until one day, I became complacent, too relaxed, and took my newly found skills for granted. I had worked hard to get to where I was and I thought I was there. To my dismay, one day the river took control and stripped the confidence and power I thought to possess.
This newly humbling experience shook me to my core and mentally put me back at ground zero. A new realization set in. Concurring a river with whatever skills you think you possess is not an option! As a human you are a very fortunate individual to be lucky enough to pass through vertical walls filled with turbulent water. From then on I greatly accepted the water as my guide for the good, as well as the bad times. This experience was the catalyst for my future progression as well as applying Zen to Paddling.
– Ryan Scott
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