The ocean is a wilderness — so easy to forget when we’re looking across the blue surface. We enter the unknown each time we step into the everchanging waves almost naked, mostly unaware of the creatures who live there.
I love open water swimming, especially in the ocean, and this day the water is cold and surprisingly clear. Half way out to the buoy, past the breakwater, I can see through the glassy swells, clear green all the way down to the rippled sand at the bottom. I believe I’m alone when a couple of dolphins pass by 15 feet away. Pelicans stream past me in a long low line right above the water.
In meditation we enter another set of waves. As we become attentive, we learn of the creatures, the ‘wild things’ who inhabit our depths, what Emily Dickinson called “the mob within the heart.” Like entering the ocean, with practice we grow in courage to enter our own wildness, to trust ourselves. And the urge to find the yet unknown grows, too.
But can our minds actually seek the unknown? If I enter the water seeking, I only know how to look for what I expect. How can I be open to the unknown? How do we invite a guest we do not yet know into our life? How can I live in the unknown?
When the wind stops, the water becomes quiet.
When searching for them stops, the dolphins come near me.
The unknown has to come to us. When the mind is still, the wild waves calm down. The unknown comes into being.
May we and all beings ride the waves and trust the unknown.
Image Credit: T. Goodman