Many surfers considering catching a wave to be a spiritual experience, others consider it more physical.
What makes a person want to surf? Is it a mystical or magical lure? Could it simply be the ego-based adrenaline rushes that surfers really enjoy? According to one surfer, “I like the crispness of the winter air and the warm security of my wetsuit.”
Well, there must be more to it than that. What about the spiritual connection that many surfers say they feel? Do they really connect to a ‘higher power’ out there on the ocean?
According the Zen philosophy you must be one with the board to achieve this higher consciousness. To further augment this statement a Zen Monk says “You know, if you have to ask, you won’t understand, that kind of thing.”
The Physical Benefits Of Surfing
Is there a physical benefit to surfing? Yes, there definitely is. Surfing helps to strengthen the muscles in your upper back, legs, lower abdominal as well as your biceps and triceps.
Let’s take a closer look at how this works. When you’ll laying on your surf board paddling using both arms together that action helps to strengthen the muscles in your upper back. Freestyle paddling, using alternate arms, helps to strengthen the forearms, triceps, pectorals, latissimus, the chest are as well as the upper back. The recovery stroke, again using alternating arms, helps to strengthen the latissimus, biceps, shoulders and also the upper back.
For those of you who do not have access to an ocean on a regular basis there are machines you may purchase to help you stay in shape so that you are ready to catch the waves when you do get to the ocean.
Becoming One With Nature
Being out on the ocean can help you to feel a detachment from everyday life. The salt breeze can take away your worries and fill your mind with the camaraderie of surfers. It can also help to enforce the idea that true happiness, health and achievement lies in being in tune with nature. Surfing can help one to learn, listen and play with nature.
According to one surfer “(There is a) tremendous connection I feel to the entire planet, like I am within the bloodstream of the world. My blood pounds. This terrible and wonderful force before me begins to explode down the line.”
Being in the ocean, realizing that riding a wave is an infinitesimally small portion of the whole picture can make you feel like a fragile creature. It can also make you more aware that waves are an “energy transport phenomenon.” The true soul of surfing has everything to do with being in harmony with nature. The ocean can provide a great metaphor on life and nature for those willing to take notice. Most surfers tend to absorb these lessons. Surfing can also help to manifest a new joy and confidence towards future endeavors.
Is It Spiritual?
Surfing to some is a mystic, almost religious, phenomenon that makes them feel harmonious and natural. Many surfers pursue surfing as a spiritual practice or Sadhana, meaning an action one does to reach a higher consciousness. Discovering the lessons of the ocean can help to enhance the mystery of life. It deepens our belief that we are all interconnected with Mother Nature, while also showing us that we too are an essential and active element in the overall plan.
In the final words of a surfer, who completely sums it all up, “I feel like the Great Architect Himself has beckoned me out to play. He has commanded my complete attention and focus. He has brought me to this meditative, fluid state that dissolves all earthly concerns. (The ocean) cradles and coddles me. I float and soar on its face.”