Beneath the Waves is an Ocean of Peace
Whether they are mild or tumultuous, the "waves" of our daily life are imagined to be separate from the ocean of peace we are searching for. We think we must stop the waves or change their direction in order to experience calm water. The problem is not that we experience changing waves of thoughts, feelings, sensations, life experiences, or even that fear may sometimes arise in their intensity. The problem is that we are identified as a separate wave, a separate someone, experiencing only the surface of the sea and not its depths. We imagine life's waves crash into us rather than experiencing ourselves as the infinite sea itself which is both still and continually flowing in each moment of life's unfolding.
We do not dive deeply enough into our direct experience of the wave to discover what it is actually made of, to discover the invisible sea that lies beneath each moment as it is. We are continually trying to get away from certain feelings, people, or experiences and to hang on to others. We imagine our peace is somewhere else than where we are because we are identified with our separation, with our ideas of how people and moments and feelings should or should not look.
When we do not imagine ourselves separate from the moment or separate from our Being, we discover the peace that is always present. A direct perception of anything, without the mind's story or judgments about it, points to our true nature. This includes direct perception of difficult mind states such as anxiety, fear, anger, or sadness, as well as simple things such as sound, laughter, a flower, or a sip of tea. Positive states, which we almost never care to investigate, will return us to our true nature as well.
In directly experiencing anything to its depths, without the addition of thought, judgment, interpretation, clinging or aversion, we discover what is deeply true. Direct experience is not thinking about something; neither is it projecting, discharging, repressing, suppressing, judging or telling a story about it. If we put no distance between ourselves and the experience of the moment, we are able to come to the unchanging, yet ever-changing Reality of what is. Seeing what is is not just seeing the phenomenal world of form, including thought and feeling forms, but the seeing of the essence of each moment, each thing. This is the possibility and promise of directly and immediately experiencing—indeed, of being—whatever experience we find on the altar of this moment. We must be willing to find out for ourselves what the "wave" is actually made of.
When the illusion of separation ends, all waves and all moments are seen clearly to be movements of the ocean itself. Does the Ocean refuse its own movements? Is the peaceful water of the Deep threatened by a storm at sea? Another way of asking the same question is: Who/what are you, really?
© Dorothy Hunt
Photo courtesy of Nina Cherington
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