Waves, Surfing, and The Soul | Expressions Of Infinite Energy

“The mystic sees God in everything; the scientist, atoms; the poet, poetry.”  ― Marty Rubin

“The mystic sees God in everything; the scientist, atoms; the poet, poetry.”
― Marty Rubin

As a human being I have found a constant question that comes forth in almost everyone’s life, that question relates to the meaning of life itself. There are various theories that have been posed by religious leaders, poets, philosophers, psychologists, and the like. I have found these theories to be helpful and guiding in my personal search for my own life’s meaning, yet no one has been able to answer the question for me. The conclusion I have to come to thus far is we assign our own meaning to our lives. We determine what is meaningful to us and how we choose to define our time on this planet.

In my life and in my writing I’ve given special importance to the act of surfing. I imagine many surfers may not share my feelings about surfing, this holy regard that I have for the jovial act of playing in the surf. Personally, I consider surfing to be a lifelong path, if one is so blessed. I feel all human beings need a practice that helps strengthen, refine, test, and expand their body, mind, and spirit. I find I need meaning, I need purpose, and I need a practice. For many, like myself, that practice is riding waves and being in the ocean.

The surfing path itself and the things that come along the way will manifest in different forms throughout our lifetime. The manifestations follow where we are at on a physical, mental, and spiritual level. In less esoteric wording, our surfing life, like our life on land, takes on different forms as we continue our journey. These various forms or manifestations are temporary, just as a wave is, but the energy that is coming into “being” in all cases is eternal. The consciousness that is experiencing, that thing we may call the self or the “I”, is energy that is conscious of itself. Being energy, it will have the qualities of energy. Those qualities are being eternal in nature, not created nor destroyed, simply changing from one form to the next. The surfer and the wave are both expressions of this infinite energy through different mediums, the human body and the ocean water. When the human being and the ocean water interact on the intimate level, like what happens when we surf, I feel it is truly a sacred experience. Yet in order for us to experience the sacredness, we need to clear the obstruction from our mind’s eye and our heart. The obstruction is of course that little pain in the ass called ego and the falling away of ego is a gradual process. With each session, with each swell, with each wave, we are given a chance to transcend mind and ego. We are given a chance to strip away cultural indoctrination and find the still point within us. Essentially we are given the chance to simply “be”.

Surfing reconnects us with nature in a way that can be beautiful and profound. We once again enter the womb of creation, the sea, and develop an intimate relationship with her. We learn about her movements, her moods, her subtleness. We learn to glide, slide, and dance upon her waves, riding the energy of mother nature. We realize we are not separate from nature simply as an observer, or worse yet, an oppressor. We are actually connected at the most root level to the natural world, as our own bodies have come out of her. The human being and nature are ONE. I think this one realization, if had by the collective masses, could change the entire course of humanity for a positive end.

A recurring theme in a lot of my writing over the last few years centers around this interaction we have with nature and the personal realizations that come somewhat spontaneously through the path of surfing. I not only enjoy contemplating the coupling of the human being with nature through wave riding, but also the spiritual dimension that is part and parcel of the connection we make while surfing. I try to relate personal realization and experience, through the written word, along with images from our photographers. Although surfing displays itself as an outward expression, there is the inner experience that is the soul force of the practice. I do find words can fall short in the sharing of my inner and outer experiences in the water. Yet I keep writing, hoping for an open space, where my ego falls away, and what needs to be expressed comes to the surface. My hope is that these thoughts resonate with other surfers, and that I may possibly offer something of value to surfing culture.

I see the surfing life as that of the artist, mystic, or poet. Surfing is a pure expression of our creative impulse and our love of joy. We crave connection, as well as expression, and as surfers we’ve found it in such a beautiful place.

So I will keep surfing and writing, letting the wave of life unfold how it will, hoping to move gracefully through each oncoming section, and forever learning as I continue my pursuit.

All Photos: Fiona Mullen

"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth." - RUMI

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.” – RUMI

"The great religions are the ships, Poets the life boats. Every sane person I know has jumped overboard." - Hafiz of Persia

“The great religions are the ships, Poets the life boats. Every sane person I know has jumped overboard.”
– Hafiz of Persia

“Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.”  ― Meister Eckhart

“Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.”
― Meister Eckhart

“As a soul, you have the freedom – and earned responsibility – to transpose your personal process of evolution, to manifest your greatest talents and vision, into the work that matters to you most as a means to personal redemption.”  ― Darrell Calkins

“As a soul, you have the freedom – and earned responsibility – to transpose your personal process of evolution, to manifest your greatest talents and vision, into the work that matters to you most as a means to personal redemption.”
― Darrell Calkins

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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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