To a surfer, the big waves are golden treasures, moments of precious opportunity. To a person afraid of the ocean, big waves are a pretty big problem. I like to look at life like the ocean: it is pure potential, and it is unique in every moment. Like the surfer we can look at life as endless opportunities to surf when the waves are high and rest deeply when the water is calm.
I used to think that pain was a problem, and the deep feelings of being human something to be avoided or gotten rid of. When the surf was high, I became afraid and looked for ways to quickly swim to shore. With my back to the big waves (or my many movements to avoid them) I was crashed around and the big problems became bigger every time.
The big waves, the moments when emotion is running high, or pain is very intense, are fleeting. Eventually all waves subside, no matter the size or intensity. To a surfer, the big waves are opportunities, treasures to be seized and surfed, not problems to be fixed or avoided.
When we live life like a surfer, we can see the moments of pain or intensity as the greatest treasures. With focus running high moment to moment, there is no time to think, no time to find a way out or to avoid, because we are busy surfing that wave, letting it take us in, straight to the heart of the moment. When the big waves are taken moment by moment, breath by breath, we can appreciate their power and potential to take us to a placeless place beyond fear, into a timeless realm of the heart.
* Surfing image is of pro surfer Bethany Hamilton; check out her inspiring story at www.bethanyhamilton.com