Holistic Living - Skating Zen
by Life Positive
It was after I resigned from a residential school in the northern Indian hill-station of Mussorie after two years of exhaustive teaching that I actually started enjoying the place. It had all been there—the pool streaked with sunlight, the skating rink with mountains and trees all around, the clouds that strolled into classrooms—everything but the time and the inner space to imbibe, enjoy and respect it. But I changed it all with a resignation letter. Like the wave of a magic wand, a paradoxical time-space was created that gave me a glimpse of the realm of beyond-time and beyond-space.
There I was, in the middle of the skating rink one evening with the trees watching, the clouds waving. The skates I was wearing were borrowed from a beautiful little girl. She was so eager to teach me skating that she had unpacked her suitcase to dig out her skates. What's more, she was happy about it. Messiahs come in all forms and sizes. And it didn't matter to the little rolling wheels who rode them—benevolent little messiahs or dumb disciples.
My little master's skates didn't quite fit me. Then I discovered one of them had a loose screw, so it always slid forward. Every now and then I would have to stop and adjust it. I didn't mind, but I began wondering: what if roller-skating became a religion? Then, ages later, some foolish priest would make it mandatory to roller-skate. They would spin a golden yarn of philosophy around it by saying you've got to sport danger to learn this sport.
I began by trying to lift my feet and walk skate-footed, holding on to the railing for balance. Every now and then I would almost fall. I was clutching the railing too hard. It's scary to let go in the beginning and try to walk on your own. Ask any baby. But the desire to fly teaches you how to walk. Gradually, you realize it's all about balancing. Aristotle's Golden Mean, the Buddha's Middle Path and roller-skating are all the same thing. You can't afford to be rigid. You've got to loosen up and move forward. But don't get too carried away and lose control. Just when you think you're getting the hang of it, your ego bloats, the reins of concentration go lax and you fall.
Don't, however, romanticize falling. In skating, as in life, you do fall, but it's not essential. It's just as important not to get depressed or embarrassed about falling. Get up and move on... This story is not complete. But it's not incomplete either just because it doesn't have a conclusion. It's about a beginning, the first step. You may be a hundred miles away from home, but the idea is to roll on as the wheels turn.
Harvinder Kaur, India
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