Fishing as Meditation

What if we looked at fishing as meditation?

Exercise and meditation. I have never really enjoyed either of them.  Especially exercising during the work day.  I’m the kind of person who starts sweating easily and then keeps sweating for nearly an hour after a good workout.  What kind of an image would it present if I enter a meeting with wet hair, beads of sweat rolling down my forehead and dripping off my nose, with a v-shaped cling-to-your-chest opaque wet spot on my nice Brooks Brothers shirt?

Yet these are probably the two most common activities I hear and read about in regards to staying healthy, especially as I age.  They were also two of the top (healthy) ways to cope with stress that were recommended during my working career.

Eventually I did get better at taking 15-20 minutes during the afternoon to meditate.  And it definitely calmed me down, helped me sleep better and focus more.  I’m not as consistent with exercise just for exercise, so I have tried to make lifestyle changes to drive my activity levels.

I cut my own grass with a push mower.  I go on walks with my wife and walk whenever we can instead of driving.  It was a running joke that if you went on “a walk” with me after we landed on a business trip that you should expect to put on 13 miles that day.   One time I even promised we wouldn’t do that much in Chicago.  But at the end of the day, we had walked more than 12.5 miles.    Not quite thirteen though!  Oops, sorry Kristin, I still feel a little bad about that day. But we had fun, right?

As I stepped away from the traditional 9-to-5 and returned to fishing multiple times per week, I realized that fishing is a form of meditation for me.  It calms my mind.  Those times when I’m wet wading or walking barefoot even seem to give that extra feeling of grounding and relaxation that I typically feel at the beach on summer vacation.

The act of casting becomes a focus on reading the water, feeling the subtle nuances of the streambed.  The angler’s goal is to connect with nature and replicate prey with something man-made. And on those moments when one of the largest apex predators is convinced your lure is food it can be exhilarating. I have literally heard my heart thumping captured by the Go-Pro on my chest in some videos.

But my style of fishing has also evolved to be good exercise as well.  Not unlike my former business trips, I tend to measure my distance covered on a stream in miles. I think it was Zig Ziglar who said “There is no traffic on the extra mile”.   That’s just as true in fishing as it is in business. 

Do you tend to find fishing has relaxing qualities?    Do you also tend to go the “extra mile” in your search for fish?

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