It's so quiet when you are paddling on a lake in Finland, that you could believe you are in a dream. The oar, like a hot knife in butter goes deep into the water and returns by graciously breaking the surface, allowing a a thin coating of water to fall from the paddle like pearls on a string.
It was my first day on the lake and i was excited. The weather was awesome, and the sun shone high in the wide blue sky. The clouds white and puffy reflected on the lake's surface like a mirror, and it was only when the bow of the canoe cut through this delightful scene, did it send a continuous ripple of smaller, elongated clouds, running alongside the gunwales. Splish, splash, splish,splash. The paddle dipping in and out of the water is the only sound i can hear, sending me into a trance. I take a deep breath and awaken to the sound of someone talking. Amazed i look all around, and yet i do not see anyone. Funny. It seemed so close. It came again, but this time i pinpoint a little boat far, far away, and realised the sound is coming from there. Amazing, i think to myself, it is so quiet here that sound can travel many kilometres in distance, and sound as if it is right next to you. My mind was now playing with that dream theory.
I approached a sandy beach and allowed the bow of the canoe to gently ease into the soft golden shore. My bare feet entered the shallow warm water and the wet sand eased through my toes. I pulled the canoe up onto the shore and retrieved a camping chair from under the seat. I sat back with a gentle middle aged sigh and thought, life is good.
I watched the small row boat become larger, and slowly i could make out that there was two people inside, a woman and a man. As they rowed passed they waved at me just like we was old buddies. I waved back and smiled. They was still talking as they went on by but still too far away to understand the words, and plus my Finnish isn't very good, let alone trying to listen to it at maybe 200 meters away, which by the way, sounds like someone being muffled by a sock.
I sighed and sank back into my chair and looked up at the sky with closed eyes. A bird screeched overhead causing a frown to appear on my forehead and tension in my neck. Damn thing freaked the hell outta me, i thought, still frowning, but feeling a giggle starting up inside. The wind was soft and and gentle and it caressed my face. With my eyes closed, all i could hear now was the water rippling along the shoreline and distant birds singing. I pushed my feet deeper into the sand and relaxed even deeper. Then it occured to me! This is what i have been searching for, my whole entire life. This peace from within and around me.
To say this was a contrast from my earlier life would be a complete understatement, but that is for another story, perhaps. Right now, i'm buddha, enjoying the moment. I came to realise that there maybe screeching birds overhead sometimes, that can cause tension and annoyance, but if you have a deep enough peace inside yourself and you are able to focus on that inner emotion when times are tough or demanding, then you won't be carried away by all the tension and anxiety that can occur in life. To be absolutely present is the key to happiness.
A mosquito stabbed me in the neck and and i killed it instantly. Shaken from my dream like thoughts and enlightenment, i again realised something. It can take a long time to be completely peaceful and everyday is a test. Many things will test you!
Be buddha my friends!