Into the wind
To learn to sail from a book would be hard.
It’s easier to watch other people,
get their guidance, and benefit from their experience.
At some point though,
we still have to steer the boat ourselves, and do it.
We may learn to make progress through the water.
Learning meditation from a book is also hard,
though sometimes needs must.
Even with loving help and guidance though,
there comes a time
when we have to sit on the cushion ourselves, and do it.
We may learn to realise more deeply what is.
Unknown sailors over many generations
have developed clever arrangements
of masts and sails, of tiller and keel.
Skilful use of these enables us to sail in any direction.
We can even use the power of the wind to sail into the wind.
Not directly – the progress we make is in the form of a zigag,
but the thrill of tacking into the wind
brings a liveliness to the boat, and to us.
Known and unknown teachers over many generations
have developed clever ways and means
to help us develop greater awareness.
If we use them skilfully we can overcome our inertia and get moving.
We can use the practices to keep us moving,
despite the contrary forces in us and around us.
Eventually we may learn how to face into any difficulty,
any resistance or barrier, any doubt or distraction,
release the energy trapped in there,
and utilise the power of the difficulties to move us through the difficulties;
we make progress on our journey.
This may require a lot of our attention and concentration
– these are sometimes powerful forces –
but we may find, as we get more used to the bumpiness of the ride,
with the boat leaned over and the water foaming at the stem,
that this becomes our favourite point of sail.