One of my favorite stories from yoga literature is about a student who comes to the shore of the river and is eager to get to the other side because he believes this is where he can find the answer to life. He sees a rowboat going across and asks for a ride. They kindly let him in and they begin to row across the river. Then a shiny, beautiful sailboat comes along, and the student sees how effortlessly it moves across the water. Since he is tired of rowing, he jumps from the rowboat to the sailboat. But the winds quickly die down and instead of moving across the river, the sailboat is moving downstream with the current. Impatient, the student jumps from the sailboat to a motorized boat which is passing by. This clearly must be the most efficient way to cross the river. The fumes and noise from the motor, however, quickly irritated the student. Then the motor dies as they run out of fuel. The student looks up just in time to see the rowboat with its hardworking rowers crossing to the other shore. Ahhhh, if only he had stayed in the rowboat!
We are always so eager in life, like the student above, to reach our “final” destination. When we are children, we can’t wait until we are “grown up”. When we are older and have children of our own, we are anxious for them to reach each milestone (1st words, 1st steps). Whether it is in our yoga practice or off of our mat, we are anxious to obtain our goals. Maybe we are missing the point, the answer to life is not in the destination but in the journey itself. There will be obstacles along the way…twists, and turns, and the waters will not always run smoothly, but we will be strengthened with each experience. Enjoy each and every day, practice gratitude, spread joy, kindness, and compassion to those you encounter along your way!