A Reflection: Surfing and The Childlike Mind

A reflection...

A reflection…

“Our souls need time to think, dream, and reflect.”
-Jo Ann Davis

There’s a sort of madness to the current human predicament, our civilized life has severed us from our roots, detached us from our rightful place amongst the unification of the natural world. Our lives on land, which are a manifestation of the human collective consciousness, have become constraining, stress filled, unnatural, unhealthy, and a downright surreal experience. If we aren’t careful, we can fall into a stupefied state, following our routine of a “normal” life without question, drowning in the shallow end of a metaphorical pool. So much focus is put on the acquisition of so-called wealth, property, and items, as these are touted as the ornaments of a successful life.

Although the modern human lifestyle asserts the promise of bringing happiness, many times it only leaves a sour aftertaste in our mouths, hearts, and souls. As we become preoccupied with all the running and all the chasing, the true experience of living life and relishing all of its blessings can pass us by unnoticed. We begin to feel empty, we suffer, but we cannot pinpoint the actual cause of our suffering. Is it not apparent that the means have become more important than the ends? The tools for living life have taken precedent over actually living life. We have let our passions, our inherent “way”, and our very being take a backseat to the drive for more. In fact, what is truly important, may have been completely tossed out the window for the chase, the human made rat race of consumerism as the highest of achievable goals. In surrendering our very lives to the false deity know as the acquisition of wealth, our connection to the source has been lost by the faults in our civilization’s design.

Is this read feeling dark, heavy on the doom and gloom? It’s ok, I plan to bring it around, but before I can do that I needed to express some honest feelings I’m sure many of us share. I don’t need to go any deeper into the darkness, for those who feel me, enough has been said.

Now, surfing.

Why has surfing come to be such an important part of my life, why do I hold what many would perceive as an activity of privilege and frivolity in such high regard?

Well I tend to think the fruits of life are to be found in the dance, in the flow, and in the experience of the pure joy of play. Do you remember being a child? What was important? Was the past a focus, was the future a looming dark cloud or ray of light and hope, or was the present moment the place in which you dwelled?

I cannot answer this question for anyone, but based on my own experience, the present moment, the “now”, was what was important. I’m not talking about a hedonistic, live for now and fuck tomorrow mentality. What I’m attempting to express is that unadulterated love for life, the purified perception of the yet uncontaminated child. That place that seems to have been lost nearly 35 years ago, I can access through the medium of riding waves, and that is why surfing has become such an important part of my daily life. Surfing is cleansing and life affirming, it’s beautiful.

As I cruise across the open face of a wave, I can reconnect with the childlike mind, the open and pure space where life is once again vivid and magical. It really never became anything less than vivid or magical, but my awareness or consciousness had been clogged with the sludge of the masses.

Reconnect with nature, purify the senses, go surfing.

All Photos: Fiona Mullen


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Growing up in New Jersey, Shawn discovered and quickly immersed himself in the sub-culture of surfing and skateboarding in the mid 80’s. With a diverse and eclectic background, Shawn has walked the path of a competitive surfer, Hare Krsna monk, action sports industry player in NYC, DIY theology and religions major, and a touring punk rock musician. Now a father and self-proclaimed seeker of the “soul” of surfing, Shawn enjoys sessions with friends at uncrowded peaks along his home state’s shoreline and writing about his surf related experiences.

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