BassWestUSA - May/June 2009, Page 59

There is an aspect of angling that is completely inherent to our genetic makeup. Put a rod in the hands of a small child and watch what happens to them as they catch a fish. It is magical beyond explanation at all surface levels. Fishing, like hunting and gath- ering, taps into a primal survival and maintenance aspect of our being that, to some degree, is not explainable by us in the modern day. We no longer need it for survival but the joy derived from it is often primal in nature. The bible references fishing repeatedly in both the Old and New Testament. Fishing has always provided a means of suste- nance to human beings. Today, one of the most popular shows on TV depicts a form of extreme fishing as crab-men head into the Bearing Sea to procure the “Deadliest Catch” and risk their lives for the rewards of the bounty. Fishing is and always has been some- thing deeply rooted in our essence. Second, if you think your ego helps you in life what happens when you “achieve” what your ego tells you what you want to do? Whether it is to win a tournament, earn a promotion, earn an “A”, make $100,000, or buy that fancy new shiny thing, what happens next? Your ego may feel happy or proud for a brief moment but im- mediately thereafter, a new goal or objective must be put in place because your ego is not satisfied with what is. When the ego con- trols, you are addicted to and endless obsession with more. You become embroiled in a vicious cycle of thinking you never have enough and you are robbed of the ability to enjoy every moment for what it is. Like the thief, it comes in the night to destroy and kill. Embrace this moment here now and barely remember what came before it. Embrace your reality now with nonresistance and absorb what is at the moment. What is the point of stressing about the fish you are not catching? Will that improve your performance at this instant in time? On the contrary, it is likely to greatly hamper your performance and it is guaranteed to rob your enjoyment. You cannot control the fish or the other anglers’ performance so to worry or stress about those things really is a form of insanity fueled by our ego’s desire to achieve the impossible. When 1990s mega-rock star Kurt Cobain of Nirvana reached the pinnacle of his career and had all of the drugs, money, girls and booze he could ever want he realized that he still was not happy. It was all an illusion created by his ego. Obtain these things and

dna (reasons 9 & 10)

you will be happy. So when he did obtain those things and still was not happy, he did not know how to deal with it. He responded by bighting down on the barrel of a loaded 20-gauge shotgun and pull- ing the trigger. At the time of the autopsy they found that he had enough heroin in his body to kill three men via overdose had the shotgun not done the trick first. This fate and similar ones are not uncommon to those who achieve what they think is going to be the ultimate success. They get to the pinnacle and look around and feel … nothing has changed at all? Conversely when Maynard gets on stage with Tool (from the article’s opening paragraph) only a few short years after Kurt Co- bain’s death, he paints himself black, and only allows one very dim spotlight upon him as he sings about the fact that there is only one moment in life that ever really matters. There is only one reality he embraces. There is only one precious thing that ever matters and that is this moment, right here, right now. The ego abhors one’s contentment with now because the ego lives under the fallacy that one needs to differentiate and set themselves apart from others to be fulfilled. The ego is not bad. It just is. We all have one and it compels us all to say and do the same kinds of things. Just recognize why you do and say those things and that consciousness and recognition will, over time, greatly reduce the ego’s grips on one’s behavior. But if you ever lose sight of the reasons you began to fish and you begin to fish solely for the purpose of winning, elevating your status and ratcheting up your pride you will eventually no longer enjoy fishing. That is a fundamental truth that I hope you do not experi- ence on your own. So if you want to guarantee that you always get the most out of your time on the water make sure to always remain in touch with the non ego-based reasons for your endeavor. When you are on the water practice radical presence. Take brief moments to absorb scenery and take in mental snapshots of the water, the landscape and the wildlife. Take in a deep breath and visualize yourself physically sucking in all of your surroundings and making them part of you. Be right here, right now. Embrace the moment as if no moment ever came before and with total disregard for what may come next. Vehemently protect the process with indifference to the results and you will never lose the gift that is your passion for the sport. BW

May/June 2009