Life’s a worthy adventure
Only 300 people have circumnavigated the world in a sailboat powered only by the wind and their determination. An experienced sailor would tell you that you cannot fight the wind or the ocean; you are at the mercy of the elements when you play with the big waves and sail over waters deeper than Mount Everest is tall. Sometimes the wind is nonexistent, stranding the boat in the middle of nowhere. At other times, the sky may reveal its wrathful colors and the wind its violent side, and the ocean responds with waves taller than a ten-story building. A sailboat in a storm can do little except be tossed around. In between, there may be long stretches with clear skies, favorable winds, and gentle waters. It is easy to give while in the middle of a storm, doubt oneself and fall into despair. Stuck in gale-force winds and treacherous waters, all one can do is hold on, be brave, and wait. Otherwise, the dream of completing the journey will end.
Life is like the ocean, and each one of us will have to sail across it with a fragile little boat we call the mind. Just as a little boat, dependent on the wind for propulsion, that cannot outrun a storm, we cannot wish away difficulties in life. We will have to weather them, and we cannot pay anyone to take on our subjective experience of suffering. At best, our well-wishers will be by our side and support us. However, the world will flock to us when we are wealthy and successful. Watching someone come up in life and succeed is like a beautiful sunrise or sunset in the middle of an ocean — the water sparkles, reflecting the sun’s soft rays, and the entire sky from horizon to horizon is lit up in colors that leave us speechless in awe. It costs nothing to watch and enjoy someone succeeding in life. Few people take advantage of this; instead, dark thoughts of jealousy and envy may creep in and spoil the show, against which we must be on guard.
When a boat takes on water, it must be emptied. Otherwise, the boat may sink. Likewise, the mind can and will get overwhelmed at times — an unavoidable consequence of the experience of life. A sailor’s life depends on the boat; swimming to safety is impossible when the nearest shore is hundreds of miles away. If the sail gets damaged or torn, the sailor must muster all his strength and resources to repair the sail. Similarly, we depend on the mind. No matter how dark and negative our thoughts may be, we cannot afford to give up and sink into a dark abyss. As if our life depends on it, we must fight on. Picking whatever “pail” we can find — memories of good times, inspirational books, the company of joyful well-wishers, dreaming big, leaning on loyal companions for support, hugging a pet, or raw determination — will help empty the mind of negativity. A cheerful and buoyant mindset will ensure a safe passage on the journey through life.