Sunday, January 15, 2012

Life Is Suffering, Or Is It?

In the first of the Four Noble Truths Buddha said “life is suffering”. There are a lot of discussions surrounding the translation or the real meaning of the phrase and after a long contemplation on the subject I was enlightened and found out the truth. 

Buddha was misunderstood (he had a heavy accent). Life is not suffering, life is surfing.

When I first started surfing about 15 years ago it was winter, not the ideal time for a beginner. It took me a week to make it through the waves crashing on me, swallowed enough sea water to cover Texas and my arms were screaming with pain.

When I finally reached the place where you suppose to catch the waves I really didn’t want to paddle to any of them for I worked so hard just to get there.

When I finally started paddling for waves I realized a hard truth. Although I’m only a beginner and just struggling to find my spot, there are not enough waves to go around and the fight is brutal. If you won’t fight for your spot, you might as well just stay in bad.

So let’s say you managed to paddle all the way up through the crashing waves, found yourself in the right place, managed to catch a wave and in some miraculous way you claimed it from the other 5 guys fighting for the ride, that must mean you’re on the right track right? Wrong! 99 out of 100 waves you’ll find yourself head first barreled down like a sock in a washing machine trying to figure out where is up and where is down.

Sounds like a lot of effort and suffering for 15 second of riding a wave right?
Wrong again!
When I first stood on my board and surfed a wave (more or less) although it was for about 4 seconds before my ass was thrown down it was the best feeling I ever had until and since then.

Suddenly paddling up was a piece of cake, I didn’t feel my arms at all and all I could think about was going back to that feeling no matter what it takes.

As a teenager it was a priceless lesson I later forgot but I try to remember it now and then.
At the end surfing is the micro cosmos of life. From surfing I learned these set of rules which I write here just so I won’t forget again:
1.       Even when it looks stormy, don’t be afraid to paddle into the storm. Most likely it will be worth it.
2.       Respect your environment. When in the ocean you are nothing but a grain of sand.
3.       No one cares you’re only learning. If you don’t fight for your spot someone else will be there to take it.
4.       There is no time for hesitation. Treat any wave as if it’s the best wave of your life. You won’t know till you’re on it. If you find yourself barreled upside down it’s ok. Maybe next time.
5.       There are no shortcuts. You probably have to drink some sea water before you’ll even start thinking about surfing. Bottoms up!
6.       Never stop moving and thinking two steps ahead. Once you stop, the only way you’re going is down ass first.
7.       Leave your ego on the beach with your shoes. It doesn’t make you float any better.  

It all sounds pretty obvious but once you go out there and learn it all 100 times a day for few years it sinks in.

So maybe life is suffering. But just make sure you suffer on your way to 15 seconds of heavenly ride. Whatever that ride is for you. That’s what life is about.

The Regular OM 

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