I don’t want to turn this into an essay about ‘what I did on my summer vacation” but I just spent the past week in Daytona Beach. My sister and brother-in-law have a condo there and they invited me down. I felt compelled to go even though the seven-hour drive from Atlanta (by myself) seemed daunting to me. So I packed up my car and hit the road. It had been a while since I’ve spent time at the ocean. Heck, it’s been a while since I spent time in nature. I had a meditation retreat in the Georgia mountains one weekend in June, but it was right after school let out and right after I had my cat put down, so I was way too stressed and tired to fully appreciate my surroundings. Once I got to Florida, I felt a stirring that I hadn’t felt in a long time. Some of the stirrings were childhood memories I have of the ocean. Growing up in New York, I spent a lot of time at the beach.
The next few days were spent relishing the sights, sounds, and smells of the sea. There I was standing on the shore, the waves lapping at my feet, unable to take my eyes off the water. My mind was quiet. I could feel the energy of the ocean. I could feel being a part of that energy. This will sound like a cliché, but I felt one with my surroundings. Somehow, the other people on the beach didn’t seem like strangers. We were connected, not only to each other and the vast ocean in front of us, but to the One Reality or pure Consciousness permeating all of creation. Nature is the external manifestation of the Sacred.
With my sister and brother-in-law nearby, I asked what it was about the ocean that drew people to it like a magnet. My brother-in-law suggested that maybe it was because we came from the ocean. That primordial memory of our watery beginnings beckoning. I think that’s part of it, but I also think this sense of oneness happens in any natural setting. It’s hard not to be moved by the majesty of our natural world. Being in nature, whether it’s hiking a trail in a forest, sitting in the middle of a garden, or staring up at the stars on a clear night, reminds us that we are a part of something bigger.
The ocean appears infinite and constant. For many, while in meditation, it is the picture we see in our mind’s eye that represents the Absolute Consciousness we perceive as God.
You don’t have to be at the beach to dip your toes into the ocean of consciousness. When the mind is quiet, as in meditation or contemplation, you allow yourself to be immersed in the Absolute, the One Reality, that Is ……..