“You’re doing it rong!”
While leading a directed reading group with my ESOL students today, I had occasion to reminisce aloud about my days as a rower in high school. The hardest part about rowing is getting eight individuals to apply as much power as they can, for at least five minutes, at the same time, whilst keeping the boat “set”. An unset boat tilts, or maybe even rocks, to starboard or port. This makes the oars on the lower side smack the water, while oars on the raised side clutch for a purchase in the water. Once you achieve the balance and timing needed to make the boat “sing”, the word “sublime” easily comes to mind. Our coach called it “nine hearts beating as one” (the ninth being the coxswain), and I call it “beauty and the beast.” The exertion can be downright beastly, yet the physical “rage” must always be checked by the beauty of balance and timing. It can get mystical. (I keep getting gooosebumps while writing this post.) I’m much more of an individualistic athlete, so, except for occasional pick-up basketball and soccer games, rowing is the only “team sport” to which I gladly submit.
In any case, one of the maxims that our coach taught us in order to set the boat, is that your head follows your eyes, and your body follows your head. If you keep glance at the opposing boat on your left, for example, your head will invariably list to the left, which subtly drags your body starboard, and unsets the whole boat. (Yes, it’s that sensitive.) The key is to keep your chin level with the gunwales and your nosed pointed at the nape of the man in front of you. No matter how exhausted you are, or how far behind the other boats your crew is, your eyes should never deviate from the back of the head in front of you.
This was the lesson I used to teach my readers about happiness, and it is a consideration I offer for your own meditation.
As your head follows your eyes, so your mind follows your focus; and as your body follows your head, so your life follows your mind.
What you look upon is what you believe in, and what you believe in is what you live out.
Where are the eyes of your soul most of the time?
You’re doing it right!