The Silence of the Ocean

by Angela Clark

The Silence of the Ocean - Angela Clark

We either spend years trying to leave an imprint in the world, to not be forgotten, or feel insignificant. Or, we spend years trying to dissolve the imprints that have shaped our lives as we know them. We do yoga, we run, we read an endless number of philosophical and psychological books, we have deep discussions with other people, and occasionally we try to sit and meditate.

I was fortunate enough to recently spend two days at a friend’s house near the beach. Although I’m not a huge beach goer personally, my husband is.  And, who can refuse two nights out of the city in the summer?

Each morning I woke up at about 6:30am (thank you Mala Practice Camp), got dressed, slipped on my sandals, and walked the 50 steps needed to get to the sand.

Spectacular is the morning at the beach. Other than the occasional jogger, the disciplined fisherman, and the sweet elderly couple holding hands walking together in stride, the beach was mine alone for sitting.

I sat and watched the oceans waves crash against the shore. Sometimes she would come so close to my feet, and then immediately retract as if to say, “your turn to chase me”.  But I didn’t. I just sat and watched and listened.

I so often think of the beach as loud place to be with the roar of the crashing waves but I found that if I sat in complete stillness and truly listened for silence, there it was. Fleeting moments after the crash, and before the next unfolding. Silence – pure and breathtaking.

Then, as if the ocean herself was saying, “wake-up!” I saw a huge wave building from further out and watched as it approached the sandy shore. I was mesmerized by its rolling grace until I realized its crashing was going to reach me.

I quickly jumped up, grabbed my sandals, and took a step back just in time to watch the ocean dissolve the imprint of my seat.  As she recoiled back into herself, I couldn’t help but smile and then laugh the second time she did it to me. All this “work” I’ve been doing on my meditation seat, all those my mantras I’ve been saying, “this too shall change” and “lighten up.” All those karmic imprints I’ve been trying to undo, it all dissolved in a single wave. The ocean was telling me to wake up; she wanted to play. And so I stepped forward towards the ocean water and, yes, got my feet wet.

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