Alluring. Mysterious. Relaxing. Inspiring. Awesome. This is what an ocean offers.
And — sniffing the salt laden air, as one approaches the seaside, just adds to an ocean’s appeal.
I first became inspired by the ocean when in my teens, and I would sit by a summer sea in the evening and watch a full moon slowly rise out of the Atlantic. I promised myself then and there that I would seek to recreate such a feeling over my life span. Because it made my mind come alive, it becomes a catalyst of the imagination.
An ocean can reveal its infinite beauty – it can also raise its haunches in powerful strokes of stormy winds and tides to cause a show of respect.
Oceans symbolize freedom and escape from the ordinary. The unconscious mind can find a connection with the infinite array of life that abounds among the waves. The sounds of the sea can be like talking to God.
In one sense, the ocean appears stable and homogenous. On calm and sunny days this can be misleading. Right down beneath the surface, there can be turmoil of life. Whales are there seining plankton from the brine. Mollusks nestled in the sand below also wait to ensnare the next meal drifting down from above. A school of bluefish can surprise you by breaking the surface with their gnashing teeth seeking the next meal, and with the gulls soaring in to snatch a meal for themselves. It’s quite a mélange.
With oceans we have unpredictability, sensitivity, beauty, and strength. Wherever we are, we can access that image and help meld our emotions and physical being by meditating on the sea.
It is pretty well known that oceanic meditation is one great way to relax the stressors. Envision yourself perched on a beach with sand between the toes, and a salt spray wafting inland from a gentle surf breaking close-by. You’re aware of the ever changing tide either moving in – or moving out. The surf rustles up the sand, and then relaxes back to a slack moment awaiting the next tidal lick.
Close your eyes. The sun warms you. You notice a slight breeze—and sounds of a bird – or maybe an offshore boat – or even some human banter a bit down the beach. Then open the eyes and gaze out to the horizon, watching the colors of undulating waves mingled with the scope of the sky above. A slight humming, as some meditation devotees are wont to do, can get you tuned to a healthy level of relaxation. Don’t be too surprised to see a dolphin or even a seal frolicking in the waves. Soak in the beauty of this infinite splendor.
William Wordsworth once stated that “The Ocean is a mighty harmonist.” Within the estimated 340 million cubic miles of ocean waters there are an estimated more than 400,000 species. That means a sense of great harmony. Many see the seas as where life on earth began.
People are drawn to living within reach of the ocean and its connecting bays and inlets. There is a lingering respect for the ancient allure of historical exploration, along with the knowledge that there is yet much to be done – and much to be saved. Our early explorations of the sea were limited to what one could observe from the shorelines or aboard ships, or from what drifted ashore into those places that catch flotsam elements of ocean mysteries.
After thousands of years of this surface-thinking about oceanic wonder, there has been intense new scientific exploration into those mysteries to such a point that people now seek to preserve and protect those wonders. Many such as Rachel Carson and Jacques Cousteau have further stimulated our thinking to help gain a new understanding of the oceans so as to utilize the imagination stimulating powers for beneficial changes in how we view oceans in the future.
Along with the lure of watching a full moon rise out of the Atlantic at night, there is another aspect of the imagination stimulated by watching a summer sunrise start to show its light. Try sitting by the ocean or its bays before the dawn. A hue of pink begins to show. You know that you are seeing it as humans have seen it for thousands of years. You are in harmony with nature as your senses begin to sense the stirrings of nature, Breezes start. The animals and birds make small sounds. And you realize that thousands of thermonuclear explosions on the sun’s surface are creating life some 93 million miles away. Awesome.
The early sun glints warmly on the water. And you realize that humans are mostly composed of water (composed with minerals much like seawater) as well. You can well understand the attractive powers that draw you to be near the intriguing surface waters of the world.
Life’s easier with the edge of that ocean beside us.
Published in the March 2008 issue of Great South Bay Magazine.
Copyright (c) Robert H. Spencer