An unexpected book arrived in the mail the other day. A gift from my friend’s at Wisdom Publications. Zen Master Raven: The Teachings of a Wise Old Bird. by Zen Master human form, Robert Aitken. Here the koans are told by and to animals of the forest: raven, porcupine, owl, woodpecker, badger, black bear, and […]
A surfer and a shrink, sounds like the start of a joke … walk into a bar … . What do they talk about? Turns out the surfer dude is an expert on fear, has even written a book about it and the shrink is a crack snowboarder. They’ve got a lot to talk about. In fact, they are going to teach a workshop about it. Kripalu, here we come.
They’ve both study Buddhism and practice mindfulness. Jaimal lives by the sea in California and Arnie lives in the mountains of Vermont. They both love water, Jaimal celebrates the saltwater kind and Arnie likes the frozen, fluffy kind. In 2009, they both had books published by Wisdom. Arnie loved Saltwater Buddha and Jaimal dug 108 Metaphors for Mindfulness.
Our dharma friendship over the years has evolved into a workshop teaching collaboration. Our next workshop will be in two weeks at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. This will be a five day workshop focused on surfing the waves that life gives us. There’s been a lot of uncertainty in the world lately, and people are hungry for ways to bring equanimity to the tumult, absurdity, and anxiety the news delivered early every day.
We taken different paths towards awakening and we will share with you, dear reader, what we’ve learned along the way. From meditations on water to solutions for FOMO, you’ll have an opportunity to delve into them in the safe, beautiful, and soulful environs of Kripalu.
What we’ve learned over the years is that we are all saltwater Buddhas, even those of us that don’t surf. Our blood is essentially saltwater and we all have the potential to awaken to something much more profound, peaceful, and happy than the lives we may have been living in this uncertain world where change is rapid, hatred is palpable, and there’s no time to get it all done.
Bringing the Buddha’s teachings—in particular, mindfulness—into your life can teach you to ride whatever wave life throws at you. I wrote these lines about the Saltwater Buddha that is in all of us. It starts with me contemplating the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain and imaging the ocean and the vastness of the world:
Over time, I forget the wide expanse of this inland sea.
These old mountains shrink in memory to quaint images
and then surprise me with their worn yet formidable heights
stirring me out of the complacency of dog-eared stories
if only for an instant before I am swallowed again.
200 miles to the east and 3000 to the west the oceans live.
I can only recall their lurching green expanses from memory
their incessant movement that is actually not movement at all
I try to make sense of their rhythms pounding out the story of time
I try to get my head around their confident embrace of infinity.
I am exiled from the vast open presence until I see the mountains
breathing into sky and the water disappearing at the edge of the world
I am a stranger to this world until I imagine the earth’s forbidding core
and the 50 million miles of wiring in my brain stretching halfway to the sun
I am refugee wandering surfaces until I realize the atom’s endless space.
I dissolve myself into the dark waters of the sea, merging
as if I am not just part of that landscape but its breathing tissue
and dying to the possibility, I yield to the beating heart of the night
riding the waves as if I am a surfer sitting with legs crossed
breathing one thought, one action, one gesture of time.
I am a saltwater Buddha, woven into the fabric of stars, dust, and space
beckons me to relinquish stories, to ride its ripples of unity and multiplicity.
a conversation where words vanish into darkness and light and I
find the still point that lives between each wave to arrive home.
We welcome you to the journey and look forward to you joining us soon. If you miss this workshop, look for us at the new 1440 Multiverse in Santa Cruz next January. For more information and registration >>