Where do you go when you need a little calm in your life? When you had it with life's annoyances, where do you retreat to?
Twenty-five years ago I ran away to the woods of Vermont, leaving behind my metropolitan vanities for the simplicity and grandeur of the Green Mountain woodlands. There I found a connection to the natural rhythms of the forest, which is what I needed at the time, however now, it's the ocean that calls me.
Last month, I boarded a 80 foot schooner in the Boston harbor for a sunset cruise in the attempt to escape the despairing headlines and a frazzled mind. There is something about being on the water that lifts the veil of confusion and allows a momentary respite from life's melodrama. There is also something about watching athletic young men hoist unruly sails, harnessing the swelling canvas and the billowing wind. With the engines off, and sails weighted with the balmy fall breeze, the silence of the water consumes me.
The only request I made of myself while boarding the vessel was to leave my monkeys on the dock. In meditation circles the term "monkey mind" is often used to describe ones overactive mind, comparing it to a horde of monkeys jumping and jabbering, all screeching for your attention. Each monkey has its own agenda and their names are a clue, Lethargy, Abandonment, and the most detestable of all, is the monkey named Fear. Confusion and indecision arise from these rampant primates, and it's our job to tame them. I wanted more than to tame them, I wanted to leave my monkeys behind on the weathered dock.
As the wind picked up, the vessel listed to the starboard side; I hung on to the freshly polished railing, and just smiled. For me, there is nothing to be found on the water except freedom.
We strive to find our unique place in the world, a solid place, sometimes described as one where your feet are firmly on the ground, yet gliding across the oceans wild surface, is anything but solid. So where does this calm come from? Could it be the surrendering to the unknown, accepting the mystery that encompasses us, to just hang on for the ride? It seems the simple act of being or surrendering, buttons ups the incorrigible monkeys, allowing peace and calm.
My three hour cruise, minus the Professor and Marianne, proved successful; the monkeys stayed stranded on the dock, and on board, a slight chop and clear mind prevailed.
Give yourself a gift and visit your sanctuary today. Reward yourself with a few moments of calm, tame your monkeys, or better yet, leave them on the dock.
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