“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” — W. H. Auden
I was thinking today about spring fever. It is spring, but today was a cold, rainy day and didn’t feel like the spring I have been waiting for since last December. It was November in my soul and I was craving an ocean view.
We pay extra for an ocean view. Why?
“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. ” – Herman Melville, Moby Dick
I was feeling that pull to the sea today. I wanted to spend some time staring at the sea. Staring at the sea is more than a song collection by The Cure, and staring at those waves is more than doing nothing.
But I don’t need ocean science to tell me that watching the ocean reduces stress.
Those new to meditation are often perplexed by the idea that mindfulness means emptying your mind. The perpetual rolling of the waves is an excellent mantra.
A satori is an instant awakening, a brief moment of enlightenment when things become clear, or you have a deep realisation. Monks can achieve satori by staring at a blank wall or a circle, so it seems entirely possible that it can happen while staring at the sea.
In case you don’t have a nearby ocean, you can listen to the entire album Staring at the Sea free while you stare at a nearby wall, or a photo or video of the ocean. But before you start knocking people’s hats off, get thee to the ocean.