The Ocean of Impermanence

Curious about the Buddhist idea of impermanence?

Ask the ocean.

For a moment, imagine sitting on a soft, white sandy beach looking out towards the ocean, waves moving in towards shore. Start to notice the ocean rise and fall, through her beautiful cycles of waves.

Some waves meet the shore with a firework of explosion, powerful and vibrant, and others gently flow offering a sense of calmness and peace.

Each wave just as persistent and graceful as the one before it, simply different in the energy that surrounds it.

Sit on the beach long enough and you’ll watch the whole beautiful cycle happen again. And again.

And again.

And we love it.

We find solace and peace watching this beautiful expanse cycle over and over again, mesmerized by each new wave.

The ocean captivates us, it awakens an inner wisdom within us, each wave reminding us of the impermanence, ever changing flow of life.

Being stuck in the idea that each wave should be strong and powerful or calm and peaceful would be setting ourselves up for disappointment.

It wouldn’t even make sense to think that each wave should be the same as the one before it.

One things we know for certain is that the ocean is always constant, always producing each new wave flowing forward.

Much like life.

Sometimes life is easy and we’re just floating by and other times life is difficult and hard.

Just like the ocean waves, we cycle.

The challenge arises when we tell ourselves that we should stay in this place of everything going perfectly. We cling to the idea of ideal self and then we are shocked and disappointed when the next wave of the cycle enters our world.

Many times we discuss this feeling of impending doom, when everything is going great but we worry that it will all fall apart at any moment. In doing this we cling to our idea of what things are supposed to be like, much like a baby clings to his mother for support.

We fail to recognize the signs that arise as the cycle begins to change and transform, and then again and again we are surprised when life shifts and changes. It’s like we miss the wave slowly moving in from the horizon and then we are surprised when we get knocked over by the weight and awesome power of her crashing to shore.

And then we are so stunned by the powerful emotion or challenge that we sit in the wave break for hours, days, years sometimes even. Often times we don’t even notice when our ocean becomes tranquil again. Or by the time we notice it, the next cycle of turbulent waves are upon us.

Water lovers know that the best way to avoid being carried away by a large wave is to dive into it. You watch the wave approach, and then move towards it with grace, purpose and intention.

Life is like that.

In order to experience harmony and balance, we must learn to mindfully move through the ocean space of life with curiosity and compassion. To be curious about what the next wave will bring, and have compassion towards ourselves if we forgot to be mindful and life knocks us to the ground.

And then with a sense of lightness, joy, find the courage to pick ourselves up and wade back into the ocean we call life.

4 responses to “The Ocean of Impermanence”

  1. Lindy, What a great post about the ocean. Thanks. I’m going to let my group members read it. I miss not seeing you here in Malibu but your light shines bright.
    Sending love, light and laughter, Dr. Noe

  2. After I read this I thought you might be interested in a book I have read called, “Blue Mind.” Check it out if you can. I think you would appreciate it.