by Jessica Schreiber
Often when I have trouble sleeping, I think of the ocean. I remember when I was a child sitting on the bow of my mother’s boat. I would always resume my place on the bow every morning as we set out to fish. I would dangle my legs off the front of the boat and allow my toes first to touch and then to plunge into the deep blue sea. This is my first memory of meditation. My mind would always go blank, and I felt at peace no matter what troubles I had in my life. I felt like part of something bigger, and that something bigger felt like part of me. There at the tips of my toes, in the depths of the ocean, in the expansive view of the horizon, is where I know God lives.
“He who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, to him I am never lost, nor he ever lost to me” (The Bhagavad Gita, “The Way of Meditation,” verse 30).
When my mind is restless, I think of the ocean, where even though the water’s current and the weather can be turbulent, I find peace in the ocean’s expansiveness and power. Although sometimes I can get stuck in a powerful rip current which pulls me out from my comfortable space, I know I am still part of it all. The ocean has a way of putting everything into order by mixing it all up. I find comfort in knowing that even though I cannot reach the bottom, it exists beyond senses. Sometimes on the surface the waters seem rough, but if you submerge and listen deep enough, there is calm...just listen to the sand.
“He who has equal regard for well wishers, friends, and foes; for those who are related or indifferent to him; for the impartial and the malicious; and even for the righteous and the sinful—he stands supreme” (The Bhagavad Gita, “The Way of Meditation,” verse 9).
One of my favorite places to be is lying on the beach, feeling my body completely settled, sunken, and satisfied in the sand, completely comfortable while each grain of sand conforms to my shape, so I may rest in savasana. Being among many other people, listening to their chattering and laughter, reminds me that I am not alone. We are enjoying and being with the ocean together, because we are all together. Feeling the wind as it grazes my skin and the warm sun penetrating my cells with its light. This is where I know God to live.
“For a sage who wants to attain yoga, action is said to be the means; but when he has attained yoga, serenity is said to be the means” (The Bhagavad Gita, “The Way of Meditation,” verse 3).
Now that I live in the city and my beach and boating days are few and far between, I dream of the ocean. I concentrate on my heart and know that through the ebbs and flows of life, there exists in me, as in the ocean, a calm, a peace, a powerful strength...and here is one of the places God lives...
Source: The Bhagavad Gita translated by Swami Nikhilananda