Wave or Ocean?

Here is an enlightening anecdote from ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’, a wonderful and highly uplifting book by Mitch Albom.

Embed from Getty Images

A little wave is bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He’s enjoying the wind and fresh air on a warm, sunny afternoon. Suddenly he notices the other waves in front of him crashing against the cliff. In panic he cries out “Oh, my God, look what’s going to happen to me. I am going to perish like the other waves”.

Along comes another big wave. Seeing how distraught the little wave is, he says to him “Why do you look so grim?” The little wave cries out “You don’t understand. Look what’s happening. We are all going to crash. We will be nothing. This is terrible, isn’t it?” The big wave replies “No, you don’t understand. You are not a wave; you’re part of the ocean”.

There is deep wisdom contained in this little anecdote. When the mind is in total attentive mode, not induced in any way, it becomes an instrument of new and hitherto unimagined experiences. In total attentive mode the mind is free of limits, barriers and frontiers – poised to eke out new truths.

As humans with rigid and conditioned minds we are accustomed to looking for characteristics which set us apart rather than attributes that bring us together. Our minds are dull and not trained to look for new experiences by changing our paradigms. We are enslaved to time events, and thus we see ourselves as physical entities existing in finite time. We habitually say death is inevitable and therefore we must live each day to the fullest. He who gains most from life has lived well, we say. This compulsion to gain most from life is so ingrained in us that we see no virtue in stepping out of our time-bound sojourn on this planet.

But there is much more beyond the supposedly finite physical existence. When the mind is set free to go beyond its frontiers – the hypnotic or illusory construct of its conditioning – then new avenues open up and the thinking process is unshackled. Suddenly, in an epiphanic transformation, novel revelations come to the fore to give birth to new realities about life and existence. Beyond life there is existence, a state of complete integrity- Oneness – where ego capitulates. There are no divisions, no urge to gain ascendancy over anyone, no analysis, no measurement, accumulations become meaningless, race, nation, colour, creed, gender, religion and all such descriptions become pointless and fear of death is realised as an illusion. There is no need to look back with regret for there is no past, nor any future, but only Now which has no end.

This is totality where a wave in the ocean now begins to see itself as the ocean.