When you consider the ocean how does it make you feel? Excited? Awestruck? Terrified?
Diving has played a part in the development of my life and my art. Initially I did it to get paid work whilst I was travelling, but I soon became absolutely enthralled with the underwater world.
“Is that why you paint so much blue?” you might ask J. Maybe. I just cant seem to get away from the depth of calmness and peace that Pthalo blue, and cerulean hue gives me as I paint. It’s the closest I get to sharing with you the experience of deep calmness that comes from practising stillness.
That to one side, there are many parallels with diving the depths of the ocean, and exploring the power and beauty of the soul. This is the first of three parts to share with you just how much of an effect diving has had on my art, and my life.
The first parallel is that you have to adapt yourself to whole new set of rules. Movement under the waves is very different to movement above it. I think it’s the closest we ever to get to flying. One kick of the fins, and you are propelled forward. Breath in, and you buoy upwards, breathe out, and you gently sink. It’s a beautiful experience.
Using the breath
enables you to sink deeper into yourself. Just place your awareness on your
breathing outward for a moment and you will see what I mean. There is a reason
that the word spirit is often translated “breath” in spiritual writings.
Using the breath enables you to sink deeper into yourself. Just place your awareness on your breathing outward for a moment and you will see what I mean. There is a reason that the word spirit is often translated “breath” in spiritual writings.
There are also new rules for light, and sound. Sound moves faster through water that it does through the air. The brain pinpoints sound by triangulating the distance between your ears, and the direction that the sound is coming from. The way you can pin point the direction of sound underwater is turning your head very slowly, and paying fierce attention to sounds. It takes practise, but you can soon adapt your mind to pin pointing sound accurately. It took me four years of diving before I realised that fish make sounds. I was diving past a cave mouth full of a shoal of fish, and when you steadied your breath you could hear a beautiful sound like that of a pulsating electricity.
Fierce attention, especially to the sound of silence, is also a beautiful gateway to the depths of the Soul.
The deeper you do in the ocean, the stiller the movement of the water. Similarly, the deeper you go into yourself, the more you leave the surface of your busy exterior life, the more you find interior stillness.
(To find out one way to practise stillness, listen to this free podcast.)
Look out for part 2 to this series soon!