I still love whitewater rafting

By Dwight Collins | Jan 15, 2015

Camden — Of all of the elements, water is the only one that can move you under its own power. I use water a lot as a metaphor for life, because much like a river, our own personal journeys take us where the water leads us.

I had a friend a few weeks back that was struggling with the importance of living life and the ability to see things much clearer when you take a step back.

I first asked him if he believed that things happen for a reason and that things happen the way they happened in his life to get him to this point in his life. Once he answered yes, knowing he wasn't really a religious guy, I related a story much like the ones I have read researching Buddhism.

I asked if he had ever been whitewater rafting and he said he hadn't but always wanted to go. At this point I was not sure if he would get the point I was trying to make but I preceded to try to make it anyways.

“I love to whitewater raft,” I said to him. “Mostly because I feel that the river resembles my journey, with all the barriers in the way with periods of calm mixed in.”

He looked at me with this half-grin and nodded his head as if to begin to open up about what I was saying.

“When you go you have a registered guide in the boat to guide your journey – right, “I said. “So he will make sure you have your helmet and life jacket and they give you information and knowledge in order to make the trip safe.”

Again, another half-smile and a nod was his way to let me know that he was drinking the Kool Aid I was pouring so I began to pour a little faster.

Usually there is a bunch other people in the boat, ones that are literally in the same boat. Much like your support system, when you fall out of the boat, they are there to pull you back in. I explained to him that this is like life, when you have people around you that are willing to pull you back in the boat, chances are you will make it to the end.

Now that everyone in the raft is ready to go, the river has two banks to keep you on track and the river has falls, rapids, whirlpools, rocks, fallen trees, with a mixture of calm waters spread in between. That is exactly what the journey is like and at the end of it I don't love whitewater any less.

The point is we have boundaries [the river banks], we have the running river [life and everyday hustle and bustle], we have a water-tight raft and people in the boat to give us instruction, guidance and to pull us back in when we fall out.

Whether you are on a spiritual or religious journey, the one major thing everyone is looking for is enlightenment. Learning about Zen is not being Zen. Spiritual peace is a badge worn on the soul, life changing in our awareness. It takes steady mind and strength to be found and once you are spiritually awakened it takes a strong moral support system to be continued.

He shook my hand and said thank you and went on about his way and I went about mine. I'm not sure if he understood or was just letting me talk and I know I got something out of it and I hope he did too.

I'm not trying to change minds or opinions it burns too much fuel...now I will never own a Prius. In the spirit of conservation, I stand by my statement that changing perspective instead of minds leave more in the tank at the end of the day.

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