Okay, this one’s simple, but it can be tricky to grasp at first. Not difficult—tricky. It would be unreasonable to call tying your shoes difficult but—when you’re first learning—it is tricky. Okay. Ready?
Waves don’t push beach balls towards the shore because the ball is sitting on the water, it’s not riding a wave. The weight of the water versus the lightness of the beach ball causes the beach ball to float on the substance that is water. That is how they interact.
In our metaphor, the reality of us is represented by the ball, and the external reality we live within is the water. Our reality comes into being when the two realities come together. And that’s why it is critical that we learn not to mistake the wave for the water.
The water itself is neutral, much like our consciousness. If there are waves it is due to the energy that acts upon the water. The amount of energy and its frequency will dictate the shape of the wave.
This means we are better to invest your life in paying attention to the frequency, magnitude and speed of the wave than we are to focus on the temperature or look of the water.
To turn the metaphor around, we’re better to invest our life in learning to pay more attention to the energy behind our thoughts than to pay attention to external events. The events, like the water, will be still be dictated by the energy that’s put into that reality by our thoughts. We shape the water with our thinking. Rough seas; troubled thinking, and dead calm achieves little movement.
We all start off perceiving this energy as our feelings or emotions. These are feelings we know well, and yet most of us spend almost no time truly considering their origins.
Someone can insult us, but if we don’t respect them then the insult means nothing. Another person can insult us, and if we have bestowed respect upon them, then we will choose to believe their idea by thinking it about ourselves. It will become our idea, and by comparing it to current self, we lead ourselves to suffer. This is how our ball moves.
Whatever thought we have generates a kind of energy in the world around us, and that energy creates the wave that either raises or lowers our ball. Thoughts that reduce us are like troughs, and thoughts that energize is are like the crests.
Our sense of being comes from our thinking about the world. We can be in intake mode where we are aware; or we can be in output mode where you are busy using our minds to create an ego by having a thought-conversations with ourselves. We make our own waves.
If we think angry or busy or worried ego-thoughts, then we will feel angry, tired and afraid. But if we’re in intake mode, then we have little choice but to feel appreciation in some form. It’s very natural once we get comfortable in that quiet place.
The world is the world, let’s not get caught up in battling with the water. We need to focus on the wave. We need to feel its energy and to steer ourselves accordingly. If one part of the wave is unpleasant, then we can shift the weight of our thinking onto something that balances us a little more. Because there are no perfect waves. There are just waves that get surfed almost perfectly.
We all need to stop treating our egocentric narratives like they are anyone else’s reality. Those thought-waves are ours and ours alone, people are busy sailing their own seas of thought.
Only when we learn to feel our thoughts more actively will we also find a version of reality where we’re not-thinking. That is when we are truly open and aware. That is when all we are is available to feel the universe.
We’ve all felt it. New babies, big sunsets, the face of someone you love. These are such wondrous experiences precisely because they are too big for our minds to make personal. Some of life is that, and other parts of life involve us fighting the rough water of a busy mind. But through either, our role is the same.
We must not battle the water itself. Our energy should be focused on riding and creating the energy of any experience much like a wave. This is how we play our role in the universe. In a world of roiling currents of being, we are an integral part of All. We should that; we should feel the energy beneath and within us. We are a part of it that energy, and it deserves our attention.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.