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A Blank Mind

by: Lloyd Tackitt 12/2/2013

Zen masters spend entire life times practicing the ability to achieve a blank mind.  A mind without a constant monolouge running through it.  A mind that is free to observe without comment.  Years and years of sitting still in meditation are aimed at achieving this state.

Zen masters also work hard to learn to achieve a physical goal instinctively, as in archery.  The goal is to place an arrow in the bulls eye by shooting the arrow with an empty mind.  You know, be the arrow.  This is probably why fly fishing is often referred to in the context of Zen.

They spend years trying to achieve what a fly fisherman achieves basically from day one.  Fly fishing induces a blank mind, it induces the ability to achieve a physical goal without thought.  Casting a fly is a unique experience, one that isn't comparable to any other activity that I know of.  Being on the water, or in the water as is more often the case, is a good beginning to achieving the much sought after state of mind.  Humans have an affinity for water that is observable, measurable, and unexplainable.  Just look where people love to build houses, and the cost of land on those various shorelines.

Waving the fly rod back and forth in and of itself isn't particularly magical.  But put a fly line on that rod and the magic comes in, without question it comes in.  Put a fly on that line, and the opportunity of catching a fish on that fly and the magic is complete.  The magic here is that of causing a thought free state of mind.

I'm not saying that thoughts suddenly and totally cease, they don't.  But they immediately dampen down, and the longer you fish the fewer the thoughts become.   Thoughts are replaced by the physical sensations of casting, of the water moving across your legs, of the blue sky and bird songs.  Feelings of calmness, peacefulness and a relaxed anticipation take the place of thoughts.  The totality of the experience allows thoughts to dissipate, and to be replaced by a moment by moment appreciation of the senses.

Sight, sound, feel, smell and even taste are all involved.  Taste?  Well, I have a tendency to hold flys or leaders between my lips while changing flys, so I'm throwing that in too.  Plus there's the flask in my pocket that occasionally comes out for a taste.


Blog content © Lloyd Tackitt
Member comments
opencage, CO   12/2/2013 2:01:26 PM
I find it's just about this time of year that a blank mind also comes in handy while fishing a chilly river on a cold day... so does the flask.
shiverfix, CO   12/2/2013 5:09:22 PM
Maybe it's because fly fisherman have a blank mind to begin with...? (:
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX   12/3/2013 9:22:17 AM
I've been accused of something akin to a blank mind on several occasions. Probably accurate.
TigerHunter, CO   12/3/2013 10:18:11 AM
Great read!
boogieman, CO   12/3/2013 12:15:37 PM
Subconsciously it think that the blank mind is why I enjoy to fish so much. Activity and challenge, but the ability to let my mind rest during the process, until the line goes tight, and instinct takes over. Thanks for the article!
skiman, CO   12/3/2013 4:57:35 PM
I have heard it's "mind over matter"...and in MY case, I don't have a mind so it really doesn't matter! I know of that which you speak Lloyd Tackitt Grasshopper. I have lost many hours with a blank mind while fishing. I wouldn't have it any other way! Ski
Lloyd Tackitt
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