Swimming practice

Learning to love is like swimming against the current of a powerful river; most of our conditioning is pushing us in the other direction. So it is a question of developing your muscles: the more you use them, the stronger they get.

~Eknath Easwaran


Likening the spiritual stuff to simple skills is something I love about Eknath’s writing. A concept as deep as Love is suddenly demystified in one short metaphor—now Love is talked about in the simple terms of practicing, just as a swimmer would practice becoming stronger.

Before I understood this idea I thought that how much a person loved was more or less set: that person is a loving person; I’m a person who is only a bit loving. Or, when I did believe the ability to love was a bit more mutable, I still never felt I had a good way for going about improving at it. I knew I should be more loving, so I would try, and then when I at some point failed (inevitably) I would be discouraged at my apparent absence of progress and concede that I am simply not that loving of a person.

But now with loving as a skill as straightforward as swimming everything makes so much more sense. If I was a competitive swimmer wanting to be the best in the world then every swimming pool in sight would be a chance to practice. Similarly, if I’m really serious about growing my ability to love, then every encounter with another person is a chance to practice.

So my day has now become one big training session. At every turn there is a chance to practice loving more and better. And everyday I can see more results, just as a swimmer would if she trained with focus and determination.


When you put the other person’s welfare foremost every day, no matter how strong the opposing tide inside, you discover after a while that you can love a little more today than you did yesterday. Tomorrow you will be able to love a little more still. 

~Eknath Easwaran



About Graham Lettner

My wife and I recently moved from Zambia back home to Alberta. I'm lucky to have been asked to be a guest blogger for the Localize Project. I love writing stories, and when the subject is food -- something that connects us to the planet and to each other -- the stories are endless.
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One Response to Swimming practice

  1. Renee Polziehn says:

    Congratulations Graham, I am so happy for you that you have found someone special with who you can share your life. I have been thinking about Leadership Edmonton, and hoping that your journey would have taken you far away from an Engineering firm. Looks like the far away part is true, and from your blogs, it looks like you have continued on a trajectory of deeper learning. Thanks for bringing a smile to my day! Renee

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