The boat sits on the ocean; sometimes still, sometimes bobbing gently, sometimes on the point of sinking. The sea is the sea and the boat is the boat, they don’t change, yet the conditions surrounding them vary immensely. It’s pretty unlikely the boat will always remain still and equally unlikely that it will always move so violently as to nearly capsize. Conditions change, time passes, in cycles, lows and highs – the journey; a journey of swings.
Life can sometimes be like riding the waves in a sail boat – occasionally you get to steer and choose your course, sometimes balance, sometimes ripples. Temporary situations; moments of turbulence and times of stillness. Occasionally you need to cast out the anchor and wait, other times you need to pull up the anchor and drift, not always knowing the destination. Occasionally the tide takes you or the wind blows and you have to go with the flow. Now and then the wind calms and you can gently float, reassess and contemplate.
What good is a compass when the wind blows you strongly in another direction? The compass reflects having patience to get back on course or if necessary adjust your journey. With balance and poise, when the time is right, you will have a chance to shine.
The cycles shift – “The calm before the storm” or “The storm before the calm”. Impermanence works in both cases; change is inevitable. Occasionally you have to ride the waves with patience and poise waiting for the right moment for action or change. Challenge and change – the word change appears in the word challenge; they go hand in hand. Ripples come – ripples go.
A great deal of life’s challenges when you look closely and deeply are actually ripples on the surface. Temporary turbulence that doesn’t have to affect the values you hold true or the inner knowing you feel inside. You may at times have to anchor up and wait for better opportunities. Raising your awareness of the ripples on the surface helps you see the impermanence of any challenges. It helps you recognise positive change – and the plus side of events.
If presented with a challenge such as a medical condition it can take surrender to accept your new circumstances. Many challenges are thought based – call it the “Storm before the calm” if you like. There are bound to be highs and lows, cycles and flows – all journeys can change in an instant. Think of how many challenges you have already faced in the past and overcome.
Sometimes it takes great patience and compassion to accept what happens in your life, yet if you can keep a small place inside you, somewhere you can be calm and stay grounded whatever is happening on the outside then most of life’s challenges unfold slowly and solve themselves over time. You may need to take action – yet you also need to ensure it is balanced and relevant. There are some waves you cannot climb and sometimes you have to wait for calmer waters. There is a lot of skill and finesse involved in sailing and reading the tides. Part of the skill is keeping an eye on the horizon; checking for ripples and waves. As for navigation – sometimes despite outer circumstances you have to rely on your own inner compass 🙂
You can get pulled along by the tide of drama or ground yourself in peace by reconnecting with silence and stillness. The bobbing boat has little choice – you do. You can wait for the right moment, you can ride the waves of life’s ups and downs and you can rise above challenges and embrace change. Every storm passes, time moves on – life changes; the past drifts out and the future drifts in.
A Simple meditation exercise for keeping in touch with the calm seas within:
Close your eyes
Breathe deeply, slowly and gently
Imagine your body is the deep calm ocean
Your head and thoughts are ripples and waves on the surface
Now imagine the ripples and waves are higher up, way above your head
Disclaimer: You won’t drown don’t try it under water!
Your body is grounded in stillness let the waves do what they like.
The ripples on the surface might be thoughts or outer events.
They are minute compared to your body, the ocean, you, the solid strength within.
Like an iceberg where a greater percentage is below the surface.
Now imagine your feet are rooted deep within the earth creating a strong and sturdy structure
Even if waves were to come, they would simply wash over you with little effect
Outer events are not you.
Your thoughts are not you.
Other people’s interpretations of you are not you.
The ripples and waves are only temporary.
Deep within you is a place of quiet, peace and calm.
Somewhere you can go wherever you are.
You can lessen the burden of surface waves by keeping in touch with the calm seas within.
Ripples come – ripples go.
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