What is it about the ocean that brings such peace? Is there anything that I could say that has not been said before, and more eloquently than others?
Even so, I’m going to try to capture some felt experiences of being at the beach this past week in Maine:
- Things arise and they pass away. If you pay attention, you can just discern a wave crashing, even as another is rising…and it is a never ending cycle. Just like the breath. That is comforting. It also reminded me of a powerful realization that my breath will be with my until the moment I die! Literally. So, if I am ever terrified or scared, I just need to remember to breathe. I actually understood what Rumi meant by: ‘Don’t let your throat tighten with fear. Take sips of breath all day and night!’.
- What wild abandon looks like. My daughter Anjali is a water lover and a good swimmer. At nine, she sits down on the sand and lets the waves crash over her. She jumps into waves. She runs a race with them. She lays down and allows the ocean to embrace her. I have never met anyone like her, with no fear, and no self-consciousness. And the water was ice-cold! It was inspiring and it pushed me to let go a little bit of control. To let go, and lean in. Into the unknown and the uncertainty of this moment!
- Thoughts arise and pass. We don’t have to act on them. We can, if we choose to. But there is that moment of choice, and in that moment also abides the freedom. If only we can slow down. It is easy to slow down by the ocean, to be lulled into the state of being, witnessing and abiding in love.
- When we relax into the moment, give up our plans and agendas, we actually have more energy! I found that I had boundless energy to go with the flow, and at the end of the day, I felt at peace. No resistance, no pushing away.
- So much beauty surrounds us. We can so easily take it for granted. Especially now, more than ever, we see our surroundings with new eyes. ‘A feeling of fullness comes, but usually it takes some bread to bring it. Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.’ (Rumi)
- Appreciating the body. The body without which experience on this earth would not be possible. As Mary Oliver says in ‘Red bird explains himself’, “for truly the body needs a song, a spirit, a soul. And no less, to make this work, the soul has need of a body, and I am both of the earth and I am of the inexplicable beauty of heaven“.
So, let’s breathe. Feel the ocean within us. And ‘enjoy this being washed with a secret we sometimes know, and then not’ (Rumi)
With prayers and love,