Advertisement

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Participate in Your Own Rescue

AA022297One of my students shared a story. A friend of hers was on a whitewater rafting trip in Colorado. During the trip, one of the people in the raft fell out into the river. He floundered around passively while the guide attempted to steer the raft towards him. The guide offered assistance but the man remained passive. Finally, the frustrated guide shouted, “Participate in your own rescue!”

There is a key dharma lesson in this story. The Buddha noted that all of humanity is in need of rescuing. Life is suffused with senseless, self-inflicted, stress, misery, dissatisfaction, and suffering.

Advertisement

Salvation does not come from without. Gods and karma don’t seal our fate, but our intentions and actions. He taught a system of self-reliant psychology. Buddhist scholar, Professor Richard Gombrich noted how unique the Buddha’s emphasis on self-reliance was.

“A great deal of modern education and psychotherapy consists of making people aware  that they are responsible for themselves. In fact, we consider that it constitutes a large part of what we mean by becoming a mature person. It is amazing that someone should have promulgated this idea in the fifth century BC, and hardly less remarkable that he found followers.”

How do we participate in our own rescue? First, we must recognize that we have fallen out of the boat and require rescue. Next, we must do what we can not to make the situation worse. We need to pay keen attention to what the moment requires and act on that information. We need to be proactive and move towards the resources that are available.

Advertisement

We can meditate and see how our minds contribute to our sense of disquiet in each moment. We can seek peace in the midst of any situation, even the ones that are not going as we would like. We can choose to swim towards the raft even when the currents are strong and pushing us back. We can have faith that our efforts will prevail.

We will fall out of the boat. There is no way to avoid that. When we do, we can start swimming right away–moving ourselves back towards the moment. Salvation is immanent and available in any moment–in every moment.

 

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jory Curran

    Thank you Dr. Kozak for this wonderful metaphor comparing drowning to life.
    It is one of the best I have ever read.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Rachel Grossman

    The best I have ever read, and pertaining to my life right at this very moment.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Susan Greer

    Such a great story & metaphor. I loved it.

  • http://www.sound-shift.com Ian

    Loved this, Thanks!

Previous Posts

Accessibility and the Precious
I had an interesting dream image last night. I was observing a fantastic display of the aurora borealis--Northern lights (or it might have ...

posted 9:14:31am Jan. 31, 2016 | read full post »

2016 Well Underway: Resolutions, Intentions, and Projects
We are well into 2016 and I've been taking something of a hiatus from social media and this blog. I've been reflecting a lot on my life and resolutions, intentions, and projects for 2016 and beyond. I'm not a big fan of resolutions. Like ...

posted 2:33:29pm Jan. 24, 2016 | read full post »

2015: The Year in Review
Greetings everyone! It's been a busy 2015 and I'd like to share with you some of the highlights and give you links to the some of the contents I produced over this year. There is lot's more to come in 2016 and I appreciate everyone's support. I ...

posted 7:53:24am Dec. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Bodhi Day 2015
In honor of Bodhi Day, I wrote a reflection on the Seven Factors of Awakening, which are based on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. You can read about these on the main Beliefnet site. I hope this contemplation on awakening helps to move you ...

posted 9:41:04am Dec. 09, 2015 | read full post »

Thanksgiving 2015
If you've read my posts about Thanksgiving before, you know my basic premise is that we should be thankful everyday, not just this day. In fact, we could be thankful in every moment we are alive. Each moment that we are not, we are missing an ...

posted 9:01:46am Nov. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.