Flowing With the Waves

ocean-wavesIt seems that in everything we do, we are trying to change or alter what is. We try to “fix,” manage, or get away from uncomfortable feelings and situations. We look to the future of when we have “x” we’ll be happy or, if I can just get through “y” everything will be okay. Even meditation is often misconstrued as an exercise in stopping or controlling thoughts. Some sort of “doing” with a “goal,” where we are trying to be, instead of just being.

As if you could stop “being.” As if you could stop or even influence the ocean by standing in front of a wave.

When we try to change our in the moment experience, we are resisting what is. We are trying to constrict and stifle the natural flow of life, which in turn creates our suffering. Much like standing against the waves of the ocean. If you stand rigid and unyielding, resisting the waves, you must continually expend energy to avoid being swept off your feet or pulled under by the tide. The waves tirelessly persist one after the other, pushing and pulling, while you continually try to resist. And still, in spite of all your resistance, in spite of all your attempts to change what is, the ocean is still there, unaffected, and immutable. It is only you who tires and wears down. It is only your resistance to what is that creates suffering.

So why resist?

Even when you are experiencing pain, grief, sorrow…why resist? Why suffer? Life is happening whether you think you want it to or not, it is your choice to resist. It is your choice on whether to be battered by life or whether to flow with its ups and downs.

I’m not suggesting a method or tool to escape and avoid the experiences of pain, grief, or sorrow. These experiences are as unavoidable as the bliss, peace, and happiness we are constantly reaching for. All experiences are as unstoppable as the waves in the ocean—and just as impermanent. Instead what I suggest is that when you allow the pain to flow naturally, as it must, as life must, you might find it considerably more bearable to flow along with it. Although it sounds contradictory, meeting pain and sorrow as it is allows it to flow through you unimpeded, naturally. As the experience of this deepens the beauty and compassion underneath the pain becomes tangible.

It is the compassionate view of the whole picture, not just beauty or the pain in and of itself, but both beauty and pain wholly together, that you realize they are inseparable. In fact, you may realize that they are much the same as light and dark, up and down, here and there. And that realization, that perspective of wholeness, is exactly what makes life—and all of its painful and blissful parts—beautiful.

This is where we find the peace we long for, the equanimity of spirit. Not in running away, nor in standing still, but rather in effortlessly floating through each wave as it advances and recedes, without resisting what is.

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