I was reminiscing of the past with a friend on the phone, being stationed in Hawaii, surfing the North Shore. We joked of the prospect of hitting the ocean again during deep winter, then the usual ideas of self-doubt surfaced, “Am I rusty? Have I forgotten how to surf?” I should probably work on my surf fitness at home by hitting the gym for a few months. Then I had the realization all those notions were inconsequential – What’s Important is the perspective gained from being unplugged from the usual busyness of the world for a few hours. The feeling of aliveness, joy and above all just being. The ocean doesn’t need me to be a good surfer – it just is there and so am I.
As a new practicing Buddhist, I am always doing my best to find a helpful perspective to frame my life – how to deal with busyness, stress, conflict. What’s it all for? Why in the usual routine of life that we all live in a alarmingly rat race fashion do we lose perspective of the fact: all we need to do is enjoy. But the question is then: How?
I started surfing and exploring the ocean back in the early 80’s – The feeling is the same all these years later, every surfer will preach to that feeling: one of pure aliveness, joy and freedom from riding upon or depending upon your view – Being a part of the wave for a short moment. Now what has changed in the many decades since I first experience what the healing power of the ocean is me, the reflection in the mirror has changed: the boy changed into a man, and perhaps somewhat sadly I am closer to death. My practice as a Buddhist is to remind myself of the bittersweet natural law that we can’t escape…Impermanence.
This moment that is here now is ending, the next moment will come and end also. We will be a little older perhaps wiser but at the same time heartbroken that this particular moment may be the last moment we experience this particular moment, place, time – the nostalgia of the past. We try to capture a perfect moment in time, but it can’t be done. We can watch the waves crash onto the shore while the sunsets – The perfect moment, it will end and all we can do is enjoy it while we have it. Never demanding more but allowing it to unfold just as it is and enjoying it.
We lose sight of perspective in everyday life: Too caught up in our phones, work, TV, Studying, Self-Development, socializing, to even look up and appreciate. It won’t be here forever.
Surfing in essence is a metaphor for the spiritual journey. If you surf, you know the feeling of being “out back”, back behind the breaking waves sitting waiting for the next set of waves to roll in, It’s in those moments where you have nothing else to do but wait, look around and appreciate.