After 10 days in San Juanico, surfing twice a day most every day, the ocean is on my mind. Meditation is also on my mind. I’m still practicing both. I’ve progressed from having no idea what I’m doing to having a little bit of an idea. And having just a bit of an idea is tough. What the mind logically knows, the body cannot yet perform. There’s one thing that will help me improve from here on out, and that’s more time in the water, and more time on my mat.
The Wave Machine
It’s a beautiful break down here. When the swell hits just right, the wave is consistent, and it feels like being on a treadmill of surf. On a recent lucky morning, I fell into the sweetest of rhythms. I’d catch the smallest of the first few waves of the set, enjoy a long ride and a chance to figure a few things out, paddle back on the outside, then arrive at the point with time to catch my breath. Repeat. The wave was the same each time. I worked on my take off, practiced my turns, took mental notes and felt improvement with each ride. Pure paradise.
It’s not always that way. The tide changed, and with it, the shape of the wave. The rhythm I’d found was lost. I had to learn a new angle of take-off, I had to wait in a different spot, I had to stand up quicker, turn right harder. My brain knew that, but my body couldn’t perform. Things happened too fast. I fell more often than not. I got stuck on the inside. I got slammed by the whitewater. I tasted the ocean in the back of my throat.
But there will be another wave, an opportunity to try once more. Never go in on a bad one, they say. Stay for one more wave.
In meditation, I’m equally attempting to stay in the pocket, to ride that sweet spot of awareness without conceptualization, open spaciousness without spacing out. I have an idea of where the mind should be, I have not yet perfected the action of staying there. I fall more often than not.
The good news is, there’s always another set. Another wave comes through, a chance to play with the thought and to choose. Let it go? Stay? Can you simply slice through? There’s a continuous process of navigation, of playing with the awareness of where you are. I can sometimes see that sweet spot in my peripheral, but I’m still learning when and how to speed up, to slow down.
I could pay for another lesson, I could read another book, I could ask more questions. But right now, the teacher is the practice, and it’s the time playing on the waves, or sitting on my mat, that will help me progress.
Never go in on a bad one, they say. Stay for one more round of breath.