The salt air washes my mind. Back and forth, it wears away at what ails me. Just like water can eventually carve out an entire canyon, the salt air can slowly blast away at even the most stubborn areas of the mind. No matter what may be bothering me, the salt air can make it seem more manageable.
After the salt air does its work, the cold takes over. The beach in the winter in Maine is an experience no person should miss. Once the mind is cleared, the shocking cold prevents it from becoming cluttered again. The drastic cold is urgent and catastrophically real, and thoughts cannot reenter willy-nilly. The cold is dealt with on a moment-by-moment basis where every second is handled and monitored before moving on to the following second.
|Winter beach meditation.|
Those who are familiar with Eastern philosophies will recognize that I am talking about something that gives the same effect as meditation. Indeed, the beach in Maine in the winter is a meditation. Whether you want your mind cleared or not, when you go to the beach in winter, that is what will happen. And the cold is so shockingly real, so all-encompassing, that you focus on nothing else. You breathe in. You breathe out. This is meditation.
The results are long term and potent. It is a trial willingly entered into again and again, with judgment left out on the rocks. I sometimes wonder if all of nature can present this connection, this “meditation.” For me, it’s the beach in winter. For others, it might be something else. I also wonder if the actual act of meditation was created as a substitute for this automatic connection with nature. I wonder if, once man lost his ability to spontaneously connect with nature, meditation was developed to fill in that gap and act as a bridge to the divine.
I don’t know for sure. But I know the cold is key. The salt air just preps the mind, but it’s the cold that forces the mind’s focus on to one point of being. The cold creates the necessity to do so. It is not a choice. The cold can make happen in five minutes what takes some people years and years to achieve in daily meditation sessions. Winter has a way of cutting to the chase.
And if you notice, it’s in the winter when we make our changes, our resolutions, and our new plans. The mirages the sun creates in the summer are nowhere to be found in the winter. The summer is for losing oneself, and the sun provides the means. The winter is for reclaiming the self, and the cold strips away all pretenses.