Thursday, February 6, 2020

The Dying Wave And Hitting Life's Reset Button

I'm reading West of Jesus by Steven Kotler, a surfing book about questing for the meaning of life on a board on the edge of a wave. It's non-fiction, and the prose is brilliant. I particularly like his sense of humor and poignant observations about the meshing of science and spirituality.

There's a section where he explains that the surfer is interacting with a wave at the moment of its death. Death and creativity merge, sometimes gracefully, sometimes perfectly.

That makes me wonder intently about whether or not these types of poetic moments can exist in other ways.

Running is my hobby, and for me, it kills that incessant train of thought, squelches it in its tracks. To feel nothing both in body and in mind is an utterly remarkable notion.

The mind is clear and the body is in a zone where it feels (mostly just pain) but there is no memory of that pain, no regret of it later. That's why I am okay in using the term "feel nothing" even though it is technically untrue.

Unlike overdoing it with a bottle of booze -- and the smarting pain of a wicked hangover that ensues, along with the regret, a worse form of pain than the physical by most accounts -- the physical pain of running is simply right. It's imbued with meaning. There's a faith in it, as if that pain will sprout appendages, take you by the hand, and walk side by side with you to the promised land.

And so, one might be asking how this is connected (if only tangentially) to the poetic beauty of that surfer catching that perfect dying wave. Well, the runner's mind, body, and soul, if even just briefly, are in a state of harmony, as the surfer and the wave are, too. There is a frequency that exists in such a state, the frequency needed for new beginnings, the prime conditions for creativity.

On Tangentially Speaking Episode 393 Jeff Shapiro talks about hang gliding and base jumping and how those activities bring him closer to the birds, how he can feel a kinship with them. Chris then goes in to wonder why we dream of flying, what this connection to that experience really means. Some are drawn to the air, others to the desert, others still to water. Despite being drawn to differing environs, the constant that can be determined is the resetting of the soul. This is what the surfer is chasing, not the endless summer nor the perfect wave, for both are impossibilities, unattainable perfections. A clean slate on life is what a runner cruising at high tempo has found: the place where mind, body, and soul merge and are given permission from which to be born again.

So, in the end, the lesson that I can garner from this is that by using our bodies with intention, purpose, and creative license, we are bringing a sense of dignity into our practice that paints colorful strokes onto the canvases of our lives. And each time that we return to our physical routines, we open up the potential to paint a masterpiece. If we keep it up, we may find ourselves on our deathbed with a collection of gorgeous paintings of all varieties, store carefully in the warehouses of our minds, a place that only we can visit, beauty that only we can gaze upon, that only we can appreciate.

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1 comment:

  1. This post is a bit rough around the edges, but we haven't published anything in a while. It feels good to get the ball rolling again. We're thinking about doing a post about the craft of writing next.


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