Friday, April 26, 2013

Let 'Er Rip

I grew up in Orange County, an area of Southern California. (Specifically Fullerton, just north of Anaheim, site of the original Disneyland) It was only 20-25 miles to Huntington or Newport Beach and I spent a lot of time at both beaches as a child and teenager. I became quite familiar with the phenomenon known then as a "riptide." (today "rip current" is more precise)

This happens when two sand bars (piers and jetties can also be locations) are located off-shore and the receding seawater is funneled between them. Speed can range anywhere between 0.5 to 2.5 meters per second (1 to 8 feet). Getting caught in a riptide can be the cause of absolute panic. Once the mind realizes it is being taken where it does not want to go, the "flight or fight" response kicks in. A lack of understanding (ignorance) about riptides can be fatal. A swimmer can exhaust himself trying to swim against the rip and drown. As most of you probably know, the technique to be employed is non-resistance. You allow the current to take you out to sea where it eventually dissipates (beyond the sandbars). You then swim sideways (out of the rip) and head to shore.

I shared all that with you to illustrate an analogy. Some of the problems Life brings you are going to feel like emotional or mental riptides. They are going to cause you to panic. At some level, they can even make you feel as though you are in a fight for your very life. If you "freak out" and exhaust yourself battling what Life has brought you, you can metaphorically drown. Better if you relax into the situation, allow it to take you where it will, then swim parallel or diagonally out of the danger.

There's just one problem though; it is completely counter-intuitive to surrender to a situation where it feels as though your life is on the line. And the ego is more than capable of manipulating events where it seems as though your life IS at stake. You must resist! You must lash out! You must strain against the injustice of it all! And I say, okay!! Just as soon as you are safely back on shore. Once your heartbeat has returned to normal. And after you've had a chance to process, calmly, what has taken place. Then, by all means, do what you think is best.

Realize I am not suggesting there is a "one size fits all" spiritual answer. However, there are tools in our "spiritual toolbox" more adaptable than others. This technique can be viewed as a Swiss Army knife, versatile in the extreme. It's employment might just be the answer next time your emotional or mental currents take you inexorably away from shore. (your comfort zone)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments anyone?