The Ocean

Namaste Dear Friends,

I hope you are enjoying the peak days of summer.  I’ve been moving through busy days filled with wonderful moments with family, friends surrounded by the beauty of nature that envelops us all at this amazing time of year. Yet somehow, in the midst of all this beauty there are still those unsettling moments of stress, anxiety, indecision and pain.  I wonder, how can this blissful perfection be so easily disturbed by one difficult interaction, feeling, or thought?  How can I so easily lose my center of ease and joy…?  For the answer to this question, I look to my most revered teacher at this time of year, the great “maha” ocean. 

My love for the ocean is what moves me through life. As a Yogi and Ayurvedic practitioner, my life has been dedicated to living in harmony with the universe. I’ve always been obsessed with nature. But my true deep love affair lies with the ocean. In my 54 years on this planet, I cannot remember a summer that wasn’t spent at the beach.  As I little girl I grew up frolicking in the great seas off the Jersey Shore and on the beaches of Long Island. 

Once I moved on to NYC for college, I would get on the train every weekend to visit the ocean.  It has always been my greatest healing place. Even in the winter I would bundle up and take the train to Long Beach and walk on the desolate beach gazing at the glistening limitless blue sea. Or sit nestled warm in the dunes listening to the sounds of the breaking waves.

As an adult my love for the ocean brought me to Montauk where I live now.  Montauk is a very special spiritual place. It is located at the tip of Long Island and sticks 120 miles out into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  It’s a unique sacred beach community filled with surfers and fisherman.  We all have one thing in common, a deep respect and love of the ocean.

As a surfer, the ocean is my teacher.  I revere her and bow down and worship her phenomenal power.  The ocean is a transformer. She has the ability to heal, to cleanse to wash away all that is not serving and release us into a state of rejuvenation and vitality.

I have a daily ritual in spring, summer and fall and for as long as I can take the cold in winter, of bathing in the ocean water to cleanse and purify my mind.  This year my last plunge was just after Thanksgiving.  In the winter I miss being submerged in the healing waters so I walk along the cold desolate beach and meditate on the beauty of the water.  I count the days until I can get to a warm tropical place to dive back in.

Everyday I spend time either gazing at the water or swimming, surfing, paddling, floating in it.  I have surfed in all kinds of waves, big, small, and giant.  I’ve surfed in situations where I was scared for my life and also at times I’ve been completely joyful and playful.  I’ve surfed with great friends, dolphins, during sunrise, sunset and even in the darkness of the full moon.  One of my most memorable sessions was during a giant rainstorm. It rained so hard that the drops flattened the waves and we were sitting in a calm beautiful lake-like ocean being baptized with rain streaming down.  It was a divine mystical moment that I will never forget.

It continues to amaze me how magical the state of the ocean is, how it shifts and changes everyday. One day it can be flat like a lake and others it can be wild and stormy.  It has such a powerful personality and is such an amazing teacher. It helps us to understand that everything that exists in nature is in a constant state of change, yet it truly never changes. We learn from the ocean to trust that the underlying energy is always the same, Sat Chit Ananda or truth, consciousness and bliss

It reminds us to embrace the shifts and changes of life and to surrender and let go.  On the outside everything will continue to ebb and flow, our thoughts, emotions and actions that cause us to sometimes suffer.  But deep within or without however you choose to see it, we will always be in an eternal state of bliss.

What keeps me connected to that enduring bliss? My daily commitment to my Yoga practice is where I begin.  I also do my best to maintain a seekers mind by continuing to stay connected to my greatest teachers as I move through my life.  Some of those teachers are embodied beings, others lie deep within my heart, and others like nature, surround me with their wisdom.

A key part of the work I do as a Yoga teacher and healer is to help others align themselves with the healing power of living in harmony with nature. The ocean has sustained me throughout my life and continues to heal and transform me to this day.  I bow to her with deep gratitude for her beauty, power and profound presence.  I hope you too; can enjoy the blessing of connecting to your greatest teacher.

With gratitude and Love,

Lauren

 

Lauren Hanna