I wrote the below on 9th August, the day before the Super Moon, which was one of the most spectacular things I have seen (and felt) in my life! The photos below I took on the 8th and 11th at sunset, and serve to give you a visual flavour of what I describe below…
I had just returned to my current lodgings – a small bungalow just a twenty feet from the beach in Koh Chang, Thailand – at about six o’clock this evening, when I started to unpack my laptop from my bag, with the intention of writing an article about meditation.
Then I stopped myself. ‘When did I last meditate?’ I thought.
And so, in the spirit of practicing what I (was about to) preach, I closed my computer again and walked the ten paces I needed to go to sit on a wooden platform right on the water’s edge, taking with me my meditation mat and blanket, and leaving behind me all other distractions usually on my person (iPhone, journal, pen, music, etc., etc.)
What I experienced was truly magical.
As I sat cross-legged facing the ocean, comfortably nestled upon my Indian treasures (mat and blanket), I listened to the waves rolling into shore just below me, the sound methodic and soothing and serving to drown out the faint beats of music playing in a restaurant nearby.
Then I gazed at the sky… Oh, wow, what a sky! I stared in awe at what looked like a painting – too beautiful to be real (!) – the grey and blue hews of the clouds sweeping across as if dragged with a paintbrush along a canvas by a talented artist. These soft cool tones contrasted sharply with luminescent oranges and yellows emanating from the sun, in parts so bright I had to narrow my eyes. And then, when I looked closer, I noticed a thin veil of purple, almost transparent, like a threadbare cotton sheet forming a thin haze of violet over the splashes of hot fire.
As my eyes darted around, taking it all in, I noticed more and more intricacies to the canvas – layer upon layer of shapes and patterns, and almost every colour of the rainbow appearing in various shades and tones. And then, at the blink of an eye, the scene would alter, shifting into something different altogether. A new moment was born, and with it, another breathtaking vision in front of my eyes.
Suddenly I was struck by the urge to go back to my room and get my camera. ‘I must share this magnificent scene with the world!’ But I resisted, reminding myself of my intention for being there. And so, settling myself into a relaxed but upright position, I closed my eyes and begun my practice.
There is no better place in the world for me to connect with my inner Being than by the ocean. Those waves in their rhythmic ebb and flow bring a stillness to my mind which is hard to achieve elsewhere. And the prana is so intense – all that energy coming from the ocean – that vast, vast expanse of water that is too great in breadth and depth to fully comprehend, and from the sand, the rocks, the trees, the insects humming in your ears and the array of other wildlife below and above you. Mother Nature at her finest.
As I breathed in that prana, that Universal life force, which connects me with all those other living creatures around me, and with the earth, the sky, and the sun, making its decline into the horizon, and with the moon, awaiting its time to shine, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. That kind of inner peace that only comes when you slow down your breath, stop to move your body, close your eyes, and just… exist.
And as I sat, caring little for what passing tourists might think of my meditative pose (in fact hoping that perhaps I may inspire them to do the same one day), I felt relieved that I had not returned to my room to fetch my camera. Because although it would have been wonderful to share this beautiful scene with others for a fleeting moment, and to store it in my ‘digital memory’ for future nostalgic perusal, nothing can compare to actually living it. And by living it fully, by being present, fully, I know I will never forget it.
That is the whole point of this post really – both the one I had intended to write at 6pm and the one I am writing right now, a few hours later.
Meditation, and the beautiful realisations which unfold from practicing it (mindfulness, awareness, intuition, consciousness), is simply the practice of being present, being aware and being you. That is all; nothing more and nothing less. It is about experiencing life in the here and now. It is living in the moment, fully and completely, without distraction, and with the conscious intention of doing just that.
After fifteen minutes or so (I didn’t have any time-keeping devices on me so I can’t be sure) I gently opened my eyes, having sensed the darkness descending, the air cooler and the waves crashing below me seemingly even louder in my ears.
As I gazed afresh at the scene in front of me I was again taken aback by the beauty I saw, as if I had never seen anything like it, as if I hadn’t been sitting in front of it the whole time. The sea was now a mirage of glistening silver, lit by the moon and the last glimmers of sunlight on the horizon, the curved line of which seemed so close and yet so far; the meeting of sky and water obscuring my vision of what lies beyond – of distant lands, filled too with all these wondrous gifts.
I thought of all the other people in the world who may be simultaneously watching in amazement at the beauty of nature around them, and of those who may even be watching this same sunset, witnessing with me this daily act of Creation: a beautiful commemoration of one day ending, and a new lying in its wake.
And I felt reminded again of how simple life is. With each rotation of the earth, a new day passes, and another is born. And so it will be for as long as any of us can comprehend.
All that really matters in life is that we are here, living on this planet, together, as One. And it is our duty to appreciate our precious time here; to stop and marvel at the incredible forces around us that have brought us here, given us life, and which bless us everyday with sounds, colours, tastes, smells, and visions of beauty that can literally take our breath away.
There is magic to be found in every moment, if you just stop for a moment to notice it.
But to notice it, to really notice it, it helps to see it with fresh eyes and with a calm mind. So try, even it’s just for five minutes, to close your eyes, stop to move, and quiet your mind. Just for a few minutes… when all you need do is to breath, and just be. And when you open them again, you might just be amazed at what you see.