The Swimmer

An anxious man, always trying to foresee every possible eventuality so that he could prepare counter – measures, came to a yoga group. There he took up to reading historical and legendary incidents in the scriptures, so that he would get to know how spiritual people behave.

‘You’ve no need to do that,’ an experienced disciple told him. ‘Our teacher tells us to try to become enlightened ourselves, rather than just reading about the enlightenment and enlightened actions of others.’

‘But how is one to know what to do?’ replied the new disciple, and he went on as before.

He happened to be an expert swimmer, and the senior one day asked him whether he could demonstrate the racing dive he had heard about. The swimmer readily agreed, pleased to be able to show his skill, and they went together to the swimming baths. The expert changed into swimming trunks, and they walked together along the side of the baths towards the diving boards. The swimmer was on the side next to the water. Suddenly the other gave him a violent push, and he fell into the bath and went under. He came to the surface quickly, climbed out and looked inquiringly at the senior, who said:

‘You went in to the water sideways, in quite a tangle trying to recover your balance, didn’t you? Have you ever gone into the water like that before?’

‘Why, no. Who would ever go in like that? Unless he was pushed, of course.’

‘Then how did you know what to do? You say you’ve never practised it. Why weren’t you drowning? How is it that you could come up so quickly? I was ready to help in case you got into trouble, but you had no difficulty at all. What exactly did you do?’

The swimmer laughed. ‘I don’t know exactly what I did. I just made the proper movements to come up – I don’t know what they were. But of course I came up at once, because I’m a swimmer. A swimmer would always come up quite easily; he doesn’t have to practise that sort of thing, because he’s a swimmer, he’s a swimmer.’

‘In the same way you’ve no need to rehearse or practise for life’s unexpected turns, if you’re a yogi. You’ll meet them in some proper way, because you’re a yogi, you’re a yogi.’

© Trevor Leggett


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