An often used analogy in Buddhism is that we are all part of an ocean but see ourselves as the waves. When our emotions crest in ecstatic heights, or drop us into the roiling depths of a trough, we experience that as our “self.” Listening to great teachers like Pema Chodron, Tara Brach, and so many others we hear that the waves are not where we truly dwell. Our true home, our being, is the ocean, not the waves.
Life is a state of constant change, and I have spent the greater part of my life trying to find solid ground on its undulating surface. Now I want to learn to surf. I had the privilege of growing up on Lake Michigan. I’ve seen it’s many moods, marveled at the colors in both the water itself and the sky at sunset. When I am near the lake or the ocean, it is obvious that movement is a part of its essence. I can breathe it in with the currents in the air, hear it in the songs of the gulls or the crash of the water on the sand. Did we lose knowing an integral part of our nature when we first used our fin-like appendages to move out onto the land?
Of course I know that isn’t true, because when I look at the earth in my own back yard I see the changes that occur. No, they may not be as obvious as waves in water, but they are there just the same and the skill at “surfing” those changes is just as necessary. One of my favorite scenes in the movie Wall-E is when the “humans” who’ve basically become blobs in pods, realize they can move on their own – that they can dance. They see beauty again, and it’s scary but wonderful. I can understand wanting everything to be predictable. To lose the highs and lows and be lulled into a permanent state of “sameness” and safety.
As the Easter weekend comes upon us there is so much to reflect on. Moving with the current, “body surfing”, and most of all learning that the waves are transitory. They are not us, the waves are simply movement upon that amazing, wonderful entity we have barely begun to understand the depths of, the ocean. In honor of Easter, may we all feel our “ocean-ness” and let the waves roll over us, unperturbed by the momentary swells or dips, knowing that is is just temporary movement. In honor of Easter may we all feel our union with the ocean. Blessings, and Namaste’.