Discover your full potential through new challenges, the example of Freediving:
the Sea Inside
“tapah svàdhyàyešvara pranidhànàni kriyà yogah”
(Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, II-1)
“Tapas”- self-discipline; “Svàdhyàya” – self-observation; “Išvara pranidhànam”- surrender at the Edge,the Higher Self or No-Self
= “kriya yogaha” Yoga in action
“Išvara” (pranidhànam), the name I gave to my small freediver’s boat, can be simply translated as, “I surrender all that I am to You,”, whether that be the universe, or the elements you perceive to hold that immensity, or your definition of god.
I feel in it, the sea, the water, in the wind….in my breath.
A phrase from a traditional sacred text may seem too far disconnected from life as a freediver but there is, in freediving, an overwhelming sense of oneness which helps me put “focus” (dharana), into a measureable context when most people have no real reference for what a meditative state (dhyana) is. The yoga texts of Patanjali say that concentration is destroyed by outside distractions and the mind wanders from frenzy to boredom in an instant. How else can we prove the quality of internal focus, (pratyahara)? It’s easy to fool oneself.
At certain moments mixed into the noise of everyday living as I hold my breath longer and move gracefully under the water, I discover how to go deeper into myself.
It’s about that point of surrender, for anyone of us who begin to explore what freediving can be all about, and it dives with me with every immersion, regardless of what that is. I don’t doubt that finally the limitations that hold us back from truly realising what that surrender is, is not about the water nor the pressure that we claim holds us back, and even less about the athletes that we are or aren’t, but about something that runs far deeper within ourselves!
The being unable to go to our “edge” is often reflected as a varying current of excuses. The curious thing is however, that each one of our intense moments in freediving, precisely at the “turning point”, is independent of depth but relative to what demons appear when we get there. Therefore, the thoughts registered during a breathe up and those that propel me or haunt me at my turning point might have been stirred up from the same profound space as the 126m freediver who has just surfaced from a rapprochement with his shadow-side.
I also see that as we freedive, any dive, we are given an opportunity to unravel a further layer of ourselves, and overcome something different this time, perhaps, and when someone’s challenge is down as frighteningly close as 5m from the surface, and they are there locked into their silent debate perceived as discomfort, anxiety or fear, they are still right there at that same turning point, as we all are, clinging to a tenuous line of surrender, (or not), consciously feeling the exhilaration of “letting go”, or from our deeper , more basic instincts, simply the desire to flee.
If I could imagine the effect of falling into a Black Hole – the act of Surrender might just be that. Today we might be in the Blue Hole, the Freedivers parallel, and the point of Surrender is so extreme, the silent debate of the best has obviously been equally a commitment to discipline and persistence as it is a point of personal realisation!
Rob Nairn, a renowned expert on Buddhist philosophy and Mindfulness states that our psychological, emotional, physical and environmental blocks can be the very keys to our growth and in understanding them we become more able to unlock our potential and our compassion.
It all depends on attitude!
“Grant yourself a moment of peace and you will understand how foolishly you have scurried about.
Learn to be silent and you will notice that you have talked much too much.
Be kind and you will realize that your judgment of others was too severe.”