Meditation Practice: Thoughts Are Like Waves on the Ocean


Thoughts are like waves on the ocean. They come and go, moving rapidly at times and engulfing the mind at other times. In order to ride the waves of emotions and mind chatter, a person learns to dive deeper into the water. From this deeper level, equanimity occurs. A person is able to watch the waves of her/his mind come and go without being caught by the constant chatter. Sometimes thoughts and especially emotions smack into us like tidal waves. This is when remaining calm and watchful becomes almost impossible.

Mediation practice works to bring awareness to the deeper aspects of Being that reside underneath the waves of thoughts, emotions, and sensations. However, sometimes we like playing with the waves like dolphins. Ride them to the beach shore for fun and games. To then dive back down deep in the water to a place of peaceful abiding, watching the waves and weather glide on by.

Whether a person is riding the wave, being crashed by a tsunami of emotions, or residing peacefully below, it is important to remember that each moment is a gift. Even in times of struggle, the moment is presenting opportunities to grow and strive as surfers in this world. Being aware of the waves is key. Watching as they are moving and perhaps crashing out into the world through anger, anxiety, and rapid thinking. Continuing to build awareness of the anger, the negative thoughts, even happy feelings is the practice. It is through practicing this awareness that joy and peace in the deeper areas of the ocean occur.

How does one practice awareness? One very simple way is to begin with 1 minute of sitting or standing still. Stop moving, stop watching t.v., stop interacting with people, stop talking on the phone for 1 minute. It is the beginning. For example, set a timer for 1 minute. Then sit on the couch with no distractions. Watch what thoughts and emotions arise while sitting. Being aware of how thoughts move from one place to another such as thinking about work, to taking out the trash, to irritation about a conflict with a loved one. Then the buzzer rings and there is recognition that the thoughts had held the mind hostage. This is the wave practice. It begins here. This is being in the present moment! Wow!

Remember, this is a practice. Bringing awareness to one’s thoughts takes a lot of practice. Joy and peace enter with practice. Each moment is an opportunity to practice. There is no reason to be upset by the practice at all. The upsetness is just more work for practicing. Bringing awareness and living in the calm deeper parts of the ocean is a life practice, a constant life practice. Perhaps it is time to visit the ocean of mind!

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