September 25, 2012 § 22 Comments
I grew up with the surf and ocean as part of my life. My mother used to say that the first day of each summer season, I would always run screaming directly into the surf- full sprint- undiluted joy. I still feel that way about the ocean.
In my adult life, it is my sanctuary. A place of peace, a spiritual place.
I now understand that the ocean is also a great teacher.
When you are trying to paddle out against a strong surf, you soon discover that you can’t just bust through the big waves. You must learn to maneuver yourself and your board to create the least possible resistance to the wave and allow it to wash over you. Even the strongest surfer cannot bend the wave to his will.
And when the surf presents itself like a roiling cauldron, as on the eve of a great storm, and you go out without the board, you must give yourself over to the surf. You swim and struggle to get out but once in the midst of the raging surf, you’re best off just letting go. Letting the crashing and ricocheting waves bounce you around, push you under, and have their way.
The ocean is a mighty thing. When it rises up, resistance gets you nowhere. But letting go, accepting its power, can bring moments of great bliss.
This is true in life- everywhere, always. We do not achieve our moments of transcendent bliss by wrenching them out of the cauldron of our busy lives. Effort, thrashing about, resistance- not the path. Those blissful moments come to us only when we are open to the wonder and energy that surrounds us.
So I try to live the lesson the surf has taught me.