Monday, 11 August 2014

Waves of the Ocean

I have often wondered what is it about the sea or the ocean that makes me feel so calm and collected.

For years together, I've lived in a coastal city. Often, outings meant a visit to the beach. Sometimes, when the sun was really white hot and the only way one could enjoy the beach was by sitting inside a vehicle and watching the waves. Sometimes, just after a thunder shower, when the sky was a brilliant blue with puffs of clouds, black-grey-white, painted on it, like a craft class would paste, wool on blue-painted canvas. Sometimes, when the night sky was lit up silvery by a huge full moon, and there would be a silvery stairway down which the moonbeams descended from the heavens onto the water and danced on the otherwise invisible waves. Sometimes, when the everything was just dark and quiet, and one could feel the bay waters just by meta-cognition. Holidays, too, were mostly along the coast. Sometimes on the East, sometimes on the West.

I have spent hours and hours of just sitting by the beach, and watching the waves come and go. The changing colours of the sea are so captivating. So many shades of blue and green, and everything in between. The waves sometimes come up to my feet, tease me and run away fast, like my kids always do. After a wave recedes, it leaves stuff behind. It is interesting to watch tiny creatures like crabs emerge and scuttle away on their sideways travels.

However more than the scenery on view, I find myself entranced with the movement of the waves. Here comes one, and then it goes. Here comes another. Wait. Is it going to build up or dissipate by the undercurrent? See, this is more frothy! Surf!! Will this one go out further than the last one? So on goes the chatter inside my mind. Here, gone. Here, gone. This is one sureshot way of calming my overshot nerves. The longer I watch the motion of the waves, the calmer I feel. Relaxed. Like this is life. The rest can wait.

Today, I had an enlightening moment. Eureka! Actually wave-watching is mindfulness. It is consciousness. It is being in the moment, living just the moment. Mindfulness uses one's breath to anchor one's mind. Breath in, breath out. "Breath" not "Breathe". When we use the phrase "breathe in, breathe out", we are not being mindful. We are actively doing something. So it is "Doing" not "Being", as one does in living mindfully. "Breath in, breath out" is being. Just being in the present. An automatic process which we passively observe.  The straying mind is anchored by the breath.

Similarly, here the wave comes, here the wave goes. We just passively observe the movement of the waves, like we passively observe our breathing. The wandering mind is stopped from wandering further, slowly roped in and then tied to the movement of the waves. This is mindfulness. Our mind is fully and completely aware of the present, in the present, filled up with the present. The mind and body are both in one state. Being. Just Being. In the Present.

1 comment:

  1. This is enlightening.... A perfect comparison...