Rewards of Meditation: The Mind, Paddling and Life.
“If you control your mind, then you can control your world.” ~Bill Kraft
Attachment to thoughts.
It can straight up derail any task at hand. Send us down the rabbit hole, chasing the “what ifs”.
Create a story, so powerful that we begin to believe it as a truth. When it hasn’t even happened.
Since before I can remember sports have played a major role in my life. From the hockey rink to being dragged behind the boat as well as on the football and baseball fields. Words of inspiration, cliches, sayings. All used. With one result in mind. To be mental strong.
During a brief stint away from sports, my professional career exposed these same lessons. Confidence. Mental discipline. It was the best tool for any project.
All of these experiences shared a common thread. One that I would not tie together until many years later.
And then Meditation.
As paddling became a large part of my life. Competition reappeared. Then yoga. And then meditation. Through my yoga teacher training we were exposed to dedicated meditation practices. And on one of these practices. A connection to meditation was created.
However I continue to find that acting out of emotion is happening less. My patience towards challenging situations is increasing. And my confidence is rising.
Don’t get my wrong I still have my days were I’m close to losing it. Screaming like a small child. And stomping my feet on the ground. But these are more like an occasional case of the hiccups. A big change from the month long mental suffer fest.
Over the years I have always found myself teaching or coaching. It started back in my early teens. And now in SUP it continues. This past year I didn’t teach nearly as much as I wanted to but little moments offered themselves for me to share some insight. Most of all the advice revolves around the mental part of paddling or more specifically SUP racing.
As passionate dedicated people we strive to paddle a bit better daily. But the challenge that paddling always provides is the small, almost immeasurable growth. And in time we begin to get frustrated, question our ability and sometimes even our equipment. We begin to look away from ourselves and at the things around us. It usually is due to our minds telling us a negative story. That we grab on with both hands.
Then we start to spiral down and lose the focus and drive needed to receive the efforts of our hard work. And this is usually right before the moment of success. The breakthrough.
This is where meditation can play a huge part. And bring us to that next level that we have worked so hard to get to.
How do we do it.
There are days when we wake up and the world seems to have been up for hours before us and the mind decides it is going to play catch up. We are spun.
Or we are in the middle of a race and someone goes by us that never does. The mind starts in the finger pointing game and we follow along. We follow further back. And the confidence drifts by like a patch of seaweed.
This is where the one minute of stillness can be worth its weight in gold. Even if we have to lock ourselves in the bathroom. Or if on the water focus on something as simple as the paddle entering the water.
If we are at home, on a paddle or maybe we are in a race. We only need 5 breaths. And they can be the loudest most obnoxious ones. Those are the ones that do all the good stuff. And when the mind starts attacking, just smile and send that thought away on the next breath. When we let go and acknowledge the thought is just that a thought we can let it drift by. As if we were sitting on the porch watching a car drive by. We don’t chase the car because we like it. We sit and admire. And smile.
Starts with the Morning.
Starting anything new is intimidating. Especially if we don’t know what will come out from it. Or if we tell someone we are. We are building pressure on ourselves.
So instead. Get up in the morning before everyone else. Sneak off to our favorite quiet spot and find a pillow or blanket. Something comfy to sit on. And take the five breaths.
Then the next day, maybe ten.
But it will only start when we shut the mind off. And breath.