Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Cruising Taught me About the Path to Enlightenment

Prayer flags aboard Rasmus
If there is any religion Scott and I can relate to, it's Buddhism.  It isn't preachy, is more of a philosophy and "way of life" than anything else, and is famously tolerant of other religions and people.  Tolerance is something we personally think the world could use a lot more of these days. But now I'm getting political...What I love the most about Buddhism can be summed up in this quote:  "Whatever one holds within the heart is what is".  Amen.

The other night Scott read me the Eightfold Path to Enlightenment as laid out by Sidhartha Guatama and as he read, I thought, "now those are some principles that make sense - not only in life, but on a boat as well"!  Turns out, cruising has taught me quite a bit about the path to Enlightenment!  Read on:
  1. Right View - If there is one thing that traveling teaches you, it's to keep an open heart and open mind and to keep your goals in site.  If you can't see the end result, how will you ever take the steps to get there?
  2. Right Intention - I have always, always said that our intentions shape our lives.  Scott I and always try to envision where we're going and how we'll get there; safe and sound and without incident.  Mental energy controls our actions.
  3. Right Speech - Luckily for us, Scott and I practically were born understanding the language of sailing (and trust me, it is another language).  By using the right speech, we get what we need or want with much more ease.  Remember; words can break or save lives, make enemies or friends, start war or create peace.  Chose your words wisely.
  4. Right Action - When the wind shifts, we must change our sails.  If we didn't, we would not only get no where but drive ourselves crazy.  Wholesome actions lead to sound states of mind.
  5. Right Livelihood - Happy, healthy and living simply and peacefully at sea.  This is definitely the right lifestyle for us!
  6. Right Effort - Without effort, nothing can be achieved.  Scott and I have been putting forth effort from day one so that we could (and may continue to) live our dream.
  7. Right Mindfulness - The ability to see things as they are, and not how you want to perceive them is a gift.  The ability to stay present and live every day as it's own is a blessing that is not lost on the cruising sailor.  Many of us are only half present, and as a result, many of us see things obscured.
  8. Right Concentration - The ability to sit still, think clearly and concentrate on one thing is something that you gain after a few silent night shifts on a boat.  No distractions, no chatter.  Just you, the open ocean, and your thoughts.  Concentration is the secret of strength (Emerson).
While I know Buddhism is not for everyone, I certainly believe we can all learn from each other no matter where we come from or what higher power we do (or do not) have faith in.  Lessons like these are universal.

I also find it interesting that the physical depiction of the Eightfold Path is a ships wheel.  Coincidence? I think not. 
The Dharma Wheel!

Brittany & Scott


NatGeoWannaBe said...

=) love it.

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

I totally agree that everybody could learn from the philosophy of Buddhism. I have my little "zen den" with my buddha and retreat to that place several times a week for inner peace. That's why we named our boat, Nirvana, which means bliss through enlightenment!

izzi said...

Great post. Looking forward to reading more. Thanks for taking the time to write this.
cloud backup service provider
microsoft 365 backup malaysia
data protection service malaysia

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...