Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thoughts | Cross Country Skiing and Buddhist Change

Views of Sun Farm while skiing

“Everything changes, nothing remains without change.”
Gautama Siddharta,563-483 B.C.

Buddhist thinking focuses on change and transformation as characteristics of reality. It is in the Buddhist philosophy and spiritual practices. I always understood this essential interpretation of reality at an intellectual level but only recently I have started to experience at a personal level how adapting to change is the most fulfilling way of living. It so not as easy for me as I make it sound, a very bumpy road with a lot of switchbacks, just to use a quite common metaphor. But still learning to appreciate the possibilities instead of following out of reach desires, can bring unexpected and rewarding surprises.

A few days ago I had a quite important experience which may sound very banal: A few days ago I had a quite important experience which may sound very banal: for the first time in nine years I wore a pair of skis and went cross country skiing.

On February 17 2002 I had a major down hill injury, caused by somebody else (not by surprise he is a partner in a large NYC corporate architectural office) lack of attention, which resulted in a broken femur, 3 surgeries, 6 weeks on a wheelchair, intense physical therapy. Although I totally recovered, reaching a fitness level higher than before the injury, I was totally terrified about skiing.
Until I finally reached the conclusion that downhill skiing was not the right activity: not only for the implicit great risk of being victim of accidents because of somebody else's carelessness, but because is highly invasive of the natural landscape and not sustainable. At this stage of my life I am trying to be very sensitive to environmental concerns so even without the fear caused by the accident downhill skiing would not be appropriate for my ecological awareness.
So I for the first time in my life I tried cross country skiing, and really enjoyed the peacefulness and closer connection with nature brought by this winter activity.