A light breeze slowly pushes the linen curtains on the patio door into the room. It is still dark and the night has no noise. Carefully, without waking you, I pull my arm out from under your head and get up from the bed. Moments later, I'm outside on the terrace, taking deep breaths of the warm sea air. I love these moments just before the eastern horizon brightens, right before it announces the new day. And today is a very special day, our first day in a paradise called Weligama Bay, at the southernmost point of Sri Lanka.
The Indian Ocean is still calm and there are hardly any waves arriving at the sandy beach. Armed with my GoPro and swimming goggles, I have made my way down to the beach. I want to capture the sunrise before my first swim training in the Indian Ocean. But to my surprise, I am not alone. Many surfers are already here, sitting in the sand, gazing out towards the sea, some of them in a meditating pose. Without disturbing the peaceful atmosphere, I simply sit down in the sand between them.
It takes a while before one of them notices me. He is very young but has grown a long beard and his hair reminds me of Bob Marley. " Hey man …", he approaches me. "… come here to ride the waves?" "Kind of.", I answer. "You know …", he continues. "… riding the waves is a kind of meditation. It offers a deep awareness of our place in nature. When you listen to the waves, time slows down, you don’t think about anything anymore and the rest of the world just vanishes. You are in awe, in the flow.
Surfing goes far beyond the sheer thrill of catching a wave. You're taking on nature and say, 'I'm gonna ride you!'. A lot of times Nature says, 'No you're not!' and crashes you to the bottom." After a short moment of silence, he says," You know, Surfing is much like making love. It always feels good, no matter how many times you've done it. "I stare out over the flat open sea and ask him: "yes, but where are the waves?" He looks at me with a smile and says, "Wait for it, man. Just before dawn, they will be here."
Impatiently I watch the eastern horizon. No dawn yet. With full consciousness, I breathe in the salty air of the ocean. The sea always has a naturally soothing effect on me. Simply sitting at the shore and gazing at the ocean puts me in a meditative state and makes me feel at ease. It feels like the flow of oxygen to my brain increases, raising my mental energy and make me feel positive. It urges me to get into the water and once I’m in and start swimming, it forces me to direct my thoughts to the present moment. Everything slows down and that restless monologue of unwanted thoughts in my head suddenly stops, clearing my mind. But it doesn't end here. I continue to feel good long after a swim session and I'm able to focus on tasks much better afterward.
Fully concentrated I sit in the sand and inhale the breeze. In, out, in, and out until I think of nothing but the waves of the Indian ocean. The energy of the surge rises through all seven mind centers, energizing the auric field around my body. A feeling of gratitude overwhelms me and I sense the Zen part of just being. Time has stopped to exist and I feel one with the infinite living spirit. My mind is swimming ahead of me in the open water and I can hear the sound of the sea so very clear. I'm swimming and swimming until I become one with the ocean.
A gentle nudge on my shoulder brings me back to the beach. Next to me stands "Bob Marley" equipped with his surfboard. Pointing towards the sea he says: "told you, man. Just before dawn, they will be here." And yes, the flat ocean surface has changed and quite impressive breakers are building up. Wave after wave is now rolling towards the beach, producing that unmistakable crashing sound. "While walking into the surge he yells: "what are you waiting for, man? Grab your board and get in. The big ones are just coming in."
Preparing my goggles, I walk into the water as the reddish-yellow sun disk slowly breaks through on the eastern horizon. The water feels somehow warm and inviting. After several long strokes, I have reached the area where the big waves are building up. Many surfers are here now, sitting on their boards and looking towards the open ocean. If you’ve ever watched surfers, you noticed that they paddle around more than they actually surf. They scan the horizon and duck under broken waves as they hang loose and wait their turn.
"Hey man, where is your surfboard?" Bob Marley asks in wonder. "I'm not here to ride the waves," I answer. "I came here to feel the waves. I’m here to swim the Indian Ocean." Now the surfers around me look in disbelief and Bob Marley says, "you are crazy man, but if you change your mind, never too late to ride the waves." I smile at him and say, "I know, … is very much like making love. It always feels good, no matter how many times you've done it." Now everybody is laughing. "Don't go too far out man", Bob adds. "there are big fish outside the bay, I have seen them."
And with a last gaze at the sunrise, I dive through the next wave and start swimming towards the open sea. Concentrating on every stroke, I merge with the waves and time slows down. I don’t think about anything anymore and the rest of the world just vanishes. From far outside the bay I can hear the blue giants singing the songs of the sea. I'm swimming and swimming until I become one with the ocean.
Weligama Bay - enjoy the pictures.