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Moitessier, Bernard – The Long Way - A state of grace

Identifier

016958

Type of spiritual experience

Background

Low back pain or lumbago is a common disorder involving the muscles and bones of the back. It affects about 40% of people at some point in their lives.

A description of the experience

Moitessier, Bernard – The Long Way

There could be many days and nights at the inside helm if the gale really hits. On two occasions I have stayed at the wheel for 72 hours, the first on Marie-Therese watching the coast and reefs in the straits of Malacca, the second on Marie-Therese II, rounding the Cape of Good Hope. There, I steered falling deeply asleep in the troughs, and waking up just before each wave, in order to take it on the stern. The extended Tahiti-Alicante gale proved very tiring, because I did not pick up the rhythm right away, and too soon reached the brink of exhaustion.

Now I am probably much better prepared to face prolonged fatigue thanks to yoga, which I have been practising daily since the dangerous rock-bottom period at the beginning of the Indian Ocean. I was on the point of giving up then, and steering for Mauritius. My ulcer was causing me pain. I was really low, mentally and physically.

A year before sailing, a pal had sent me Yoga for Everyone by Desmond Dunne, with a letter in which he tried to explain that the rhythm of Europe was making me nervous and tired. Yoga, which he had practised for two years, had enabled him and his wife to regain their balance. Everything he said was true, and I knew it. I had even known it for a long time. . .

When I first leafed through the book in the Indian Ocean, I felt it emanating all the values of my native Asia, all the wisdom of the old East, and I found a few little exercises I had always done instinctively when I was tired. My ulcer stopped bothering me, and I no longer suffered from lumbago.

But above all, I found something more. A kind of undefinable state of grace.

Some people may possess it by birth or instinct. Others can find it someday in the course of their lives; no one will ever know and it does not matter. The main point is that it exists, and with it things take their natural place, their proper balance in the whole within.

The source of the experience

Moitessier, Bernard

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities

Observation contributed by: Francis Keeble