It was my first time kayaking a few weeks ago. The day was perfect, sunny and bright, and the water smooth, reflecting the sky. We saw dolphins in the early morning, and were hopeful to see some more. My friend Lauren and I set off as her brother and niece sat on the pier fishing. Being an experienced kayaker, Lauren paddled ahead while I took my time drinking everything in. Drifting leisurely, I looked over to catch a little dolphin come up right next to me! Exclaiming with delight, I shouted out to Lauren, but she was too far away; her brother however saw the whole thing and yelled out to me. The joy we shared brought to mind the last stanza of Master’s poem “God’s Boatman”:

I want Thine everlasting happiness,
But I want also to share it with others—
That all my brothers may find the way to happiness,
Forever and forever, in Thee!

The next day seemed just as perfect. The water was glassy and smooth like the previous day, and I couldn’t wait to get out on the kayak again. This time we went in the opposite direction and Lauren wanted to do a longer trip; I was a bit apprehensive, but followed her lead. I loved seeing all the wildlife: gulls, egrets and herons flew overhead while fish skipped and jumped out of the water. The wind began to pick up on our way back and we stopped midway on a strip of sandy beach; during a lull we started back once again.

But the winds got stronger and we had to paddle against increasingly larger waves. Lauren made it back first and went to the edge of the pier to cheer me on, but by that point I no longer saw her. I was fighting a losing battle against the waves, the wind pushing me back further than I had paddled. And the pier was so close! It seemed so within reach, I thought. To make matters worse, the sky then darkened over with ominous clouds, and my mind started to go into panic mode. Thoughts of possible disaster scenarios ran through my head, such as being blown out to sea by a storm, being tossed overboard, the kayak capsizing…

While I was panicking and starting to fatigue on the water, Lauren was in turn on the pier running through her own scenarios: she could either go out again on her kayak and try to pull me in, or if the wind got worse, she would need to call in the Coast Guard…Kicking herself for having insisted on doing a longer excursion that day, Lauren kept calling out to me to no avail. No real solutions ever come out of fear.

As the panic rose in both of us, a little voice inside me stopped the tailspin, saying, “Hold up, pump the brakes. If you think a little kayaking excursion is gonna bring you down, think again!” I got a hold of myself and started chanting “I Am the Bubble,” remembering that Master and Divine Mother were with me still. This allowed me to muster up a bit more strength to persevere onward. With every stroke I said alternatingly, “God” then “Home”. As the wind whipped around my kayak, keeping me in place, my mantra reduced to just “God.” I knew I had the will, but was this the way?

For what seemed like ages, I was still making no headway whatsoever. With Divine Mother replacing my fear with clarity, I surmised I wouldn’t prevail over the wind today, and decided to turn the kayak towards the nearest shore. Surrendering my will, I noticed the wind and waves were actually pushing me towards where I wanted to go now; I ended only a little ways from the pier. Relieved to be back on land, I then called an equally relieved Lauren. We laughed at the whole thing afterwards.

That day’s lesson was to discern when to surrender and go with the flow, as well as to keep an even keel no matter what life throws at you. Remembering Divine Mother’s omnipresence calmed me down enough to surrender to the wind to reach shore.

When the mind is calm, how quickly, how smoothly, how beautifully you will perceive everything.” ~Paramhansa Yogananda