Updated: May 19
Approaching my 70th birthday I have only on rare occasions been in the ocean and have never actually swum in it. I always seemed to feel that the water and I are not a good match. I love to be by it and to watch others in it but I have never had any inclination to immerse myself in it.
Recently a friend was describing to me the joy and wonder she felt when swimming in the ocean. I was moved by this and I asked myself why I was missing out on that.
I meditated with that in mind and many old memories arose.
I recalled growing up as one of 8 siblings in the Australian bush where there was a dam next to every house. Not infrequently a toddler drowned silently by wandering into one of those dams. The child of our next door neighbours was one. My mother’s pre-emptive strategy, if one of us went near the dam was to dunk that child into the water holding the head down for a good long minute. I recalled seeing my younger sister and her distress after this treatment.
Images of going for swimming lessons one day in early secondary school in a large dam like opaque swimming pool also came up. Sometime after that lesson one of our classmates was missing and was subsequently found dead at the bottom of the pool.
I recalled attending his very sad funeral.
As I brought up and let go of these images I realised that it was these old pictures that had been dictating my relationship to swimming and to being in the water. I discarded all those pictures.
It was a hot day the next day and I thought ‘Why not!’ I jumped into our swimming pool to the enormous shock of my family who had rarely seen me do so!
Now I have made a goal to swim in the ocean and have enrolled in swimming lessons. Already I have discovered that it is possible to float on your back and relax at the same time. Amazing!
The origin of the decisions we make and even the knowledge that such a decision has been taken are not necessarily accessible to us. We operate on auto-play as though it’s a real me whose modes of behaving have some validity as opposed to simply being mired in past stories.
The things that happened, happened but it is the imprinted leftover pictures of these events that one follows as a slave.