Life is like Sailing

by Sharon Gannon |
March, 2007
krama nyatvam parinama nyatve hetuh

The cause will determine how the sequence unfolds

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali III.15


If we are passionate about attaining enlightenment or sincere about living a happy, dis-ease free life, then it might be helpful to our project to look for the source of our unhappiness or un-enlightenment, rather than to dwell in the drama of outer symptoms.

True healing occurs not from treating outer symptoms but by rooting out the causes of dis-ease. This may be called “course correction” rather than “error correction.” Sailors who navigate, sailing the waters, also use these terms. Yogis sail through the ocean of consciousness and karmas.

The normal person wakes up in the morning, perhaps turns on the TV or the computer, reads a newspaper or makes plans for the day, immersing themselves in effects. As soon as the day gets going they may feel less than optimistic, feeling small and ineffectual, perhaps depressed and overwhelmed.

The yogi wakes up in the morning and sits for meditation, allowing effects to arise, and pass through the body and mind. With each letting go, pure consciousness is allowed to permeate. As the meditator dwells in cause, effects pass by. Contemplating cause offers a creative opportunity to chart one’s day, even one’s life, rather than reacting to effects, and being thrown off course as a matter of course. Here’s a poem:


You only must go to get there
How much fuel is measured by care

Having set your sight on the true
Then you know the getting is never up to you

You cannot commit a mistake
Nor a wrong turn can you make

First tie yourself to the source
Now relax to enable yourself to stay on course

By recalling what you yearn
You will know when to turn

Being at the right place at the right time
Allows you to know yourself as the rhyme

It has taken forever up until now
Count your blessings come on wow!

If you don’t forget where you want to go
No obstacles will arise to stub your toe

No matter how far you may float
Drifting from shore you won’t

Align with your heart not with your head
Be sure to let go of all that’s been said

Like rabbits who zig-zag running to find
Climbing a mountain in round about time

But if you insist on trying to find the fix
For something that never was wrong in the mix

Pollution will arise and cloud the eyes
Of those who see others as out there not wise

Never go for the direct route
Even if you are tempted by pockets of loot

As a baby learning to walk crashes to a crawl
Thousands of times without one blush in the fall

Forever will there be problems appearing
Don’t get caught tripping the steering

With ticking not tacking we trade joy for what’s right
Up all night lest we fall into dreams of almighty flight

Tacking is an art that stretches and pulls
What is true from deception not diminishing the full

Correction of errors kills the worm on the corn
While the soil and the air walk crippled to the dawn

Correction of course is something you do
With every breath, word and sigh coming gracefully through

If not sooner then later in all of our heads
For sure we will all appear to be stopped dead.

Sharon Gannon