Sunday, February 17, 2002

By The Seat Of My Pants

Most of you know how important I think our bodies are to our intuition and ability to express ourselves. Sometimes the mind just interferes with what we “know.” Overemphasis of the brain is often at the expense of other parts of our total consciousness.

I was watching an instructional video on canoe camping the other night. One part of the video was trying to explain paddling strokes. I watched and listened while sitting in my over-stuffed chair and noticed I was getting very confused. I knew I could execute all the draws, pulls and other strokes being demonstrated. I've been doing them for years with efficiency. But when I tried  to watch and listen as the narrator broke down each stroke to its various parts in order to demonstrate execution, I was getting frustrated and confused. I felt that all this listening and watching was somehow undoing everything my body already knew about paddling a canoe. It pissed me off!

I realized that when I paddle, it's very much from the seat of my pants (my balance point during that activity), not intellectually or even visually. In fact, I best get into my paddling rhythm on long trips if I spend the first few minutes of each day paddling with my eyes closed.

So I turned off the video, closed my eyes, put my balance back where it belonged, and paddled that chair back to peace.

“A Zen abbot once set before an American aspirant two sets of small leg-less Japanese dolls, one pair weighted in the bottom part, the other in the head part. When the pair weighted in the head were pushed over, they remained on their sides; the ones weighted in the bottom bounced back at once. The abbot roared in laughter over this illustration of the plight of Western man, forever stressing the thinking at the expense of his totality.” From a very old book on my shelf, The World of Zen.

"I used to think the brain was the most important organ in the body, 'til I realized yeah, look what's telling me that." ~Emo Phillips

"The human mind treats a new idea the way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it." ~Biologist P. B. Medawar

"People are adventurous in direct proportion to their shortness of memory." ~Ned Gillette

"Look at me! Look at me! Look at me now! It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how!" ~Dr. Seuss

"If the terrain and the map do not agree, follow the terrain." ~Swedish Army Manual

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