Life & Death > Meditations Beneath the Surface

Meditations Beneath the Surface

By GREG MAFFETT
Published: April 3, 2011

This is the surface I chose to meditate beneath earlier today.

I confess, i don't meditate on a regular basis. It is more of an impromptu experience that I arrive at unexpectedly when I find myself with time on my hands and not much else to do.

I'd found this quiet time through a process that I've refined over the past half century. Its a mixture of avoiding people and ignoring the obvious. That is how I arrived at this secluded patch of beach. Having a stretch of California beach to myself in 2011 is almost unheard of to begin with. To have that opportunity on the weekend involves something akin to divine intervention.

In this case, the divinity drove the three others away from the beach just before I arrived. The three gents were in a pick-up truck heading away from the beach. I think they were there to check out the surf, but it didn't appear they ventured in. They were probably outsiders who were surprised to see what looked like depth charges going off every few minutes in the surf zone. It wasn't really that bad, it was just a multi day out there where occaisionaly waves that were arriving from Mexico met waves from Alaska and resulted in plumes of whitewater that looked like Old Faithful going off in Yellowstone Park. This phenomenon was of no concern to me. Partly because it was hitting north of where I planned to surf. And partly because the force was moving heavenward. How could that be bad?

I suited up and blasted into the water, that is how I started this meditative journey. I found the outgoing rip current and was outside in less time than ever. I set my course for the right breaker in the above the photo and paddled hard and fast. Did my quick 180 and was ready for the first ride of the day.

I popped up quickly on this breaker, but noticed that my board was less than level. In fact, it was at a 45 degree angle downward, roughly the angle of sliding board. If you ever put wax paper on a sliding board and tried to "surf" down it wearing socks as a child, you have a rough idea of what I was looking at. With one exception. Rather than a playground at the bottom of the board, there was about 15 feet of ocean, then a sandy ocean bed.

In almost no time, I was standing on the ocean floor with about 9 feet a ocean over my head. It was at this point that I entered my meditative state. The Police song "Walking on the Moon" began to play as the meditative sound track. My initial attempts to go upward were not accommodated by the whims of the Pacific Ocean. It was determined that I'd be ambling for a bit.

I took a few strides acrross the ocean floor towards the shore as directed by the wave. The water at this depth was a very soothing shade of green. I was feeling quite relaxed and borderine transcendant. Eventually though my meditations were interrupted. The pleasant green started to shift to blue and then just as suddenly to red. I caught of brief glimpse of this guy.

The subsurface quiet was briefly interrupted by his request. Something about a long term relationship. I really would have enjoyed staying there and giving him an in depth interview. I would lay out my issues with long term relationships while looking for his insights. He seemed like a sharp guy who possesed a depth of knowledge regarding spirituality. But by now I was admittedly under pressure. It had been quite some time since I'd recharged the lungs with air and well, they are demanding tenants. I had to respond in my capacity as landlord of this corporeal form. The soothing water of the depths gave way to the whitewater near the surface. In this cappuccino like foam it is hard to tell just when you have transitioned from a liquid to a gaseous environ. But at some point I just had to open my mouth and suck in a volume whatever is out there.

I was in fact able to refill with oxygen. Exhaled some CO2 and caught a brief glimpse of shore before another breaker tapped me on the shoulder and led me on another meditative journey atop the seafloor sands. This time, rather than hearing the Police, I heard a line from the movie Win Win. In that film there is a wrestler who uses an analogy to get a reversal in a wrestling match "When I'm on the bottom, I imagine the other guy is holding my head under water and I just have to do whatever the fuck it takes to get my head above water."

Given my situation at the time, I didn't need a lot of imagination to figure out what exactly I needed to do. I did it.

Eventually, I know that guy in the black hat will be back. He'll find me from time to time in quiet places I'm sure. One day, I'll accept his offer and move on to his relationship. But for now, the answer his offer is clear.

Whatever the fuck it takes.

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