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Ocean swimming and “overcoming barriers”

Awakening to the Ocean within

Overcomming barriers,

Is like jumping in the ocean,

And as the cold water rushes past your body,

There is an initial fright,

Perhaps even an “internal fight”,

Of emotions and thought?


Things like; –

“Can I do this?”

“Should I do this?”

“Is life better on land?”

“Will it all not turn out like I had planned?”


But who wants to live on the sand anyway?

Especially when we have a choice?

Why not listen to that inner voice?

Which is quietly saying,

“yes you can”

“Actually it ‘is’ part of the plan”

A plan of adventuring deep beneath the surface,

And exploring the inner world of possibility,

Excitement and flow,

A time to let go,

And become who you hadn’t even dream of,


For with the first wave, whether you catch it or not,

You feel ALIVE!


Alive within magic of the ocean,

Barriers broken,

For you dove through the fears and expectations of the mind,

You learned to be kind,

And in cold water its warmth that you did find,

A moments peace before the daily grind,

Or perhaps even better,

A chance to let go of the fetter once and for all,

And instead chosing to have a ball,

Whether you run or fall,

Knowing you can always stand tall,

In the solitiude of your heart.

7-1-19 Overcoming barriers, and moving through a sense of “inertia” has always been the most difficult challenge for me with any project, or task, be it getting up in the morning, going to work, starting a literature review, or even looking at my schedule.

Its funny but I often rationalise the inertia, and sometimes justify it, by the perceived magnitude of the task at hand. Ocean swimming is perhaps a great simulation of this process of “overcoming barriers”.

This morning when my partner Sanna and I went down for a body surf in North Wollongong, the sky was overcast, and the sea, from a distance didn’t look as inviting as it has done in recent times. This is the best time to observe oneself and one’s own resistance. For in this awareness one can see how easy it is to be trapped in the minds stories of doom a gloom, the river of “what if’s” and all its associated tributaries.

Thankfully instead of listening to these fleeing internal stories there was a pre-arranged commitment to go for a swim and a body surf. It was a cocktail of feelings of resistance, thoughts, followed by the experience of surrender and success, only they happened rather rapidly. Often when having a coffee after the body surf my memory cuts to the chase and all I seem to focus on is the second half of that mindful journey, which is where I have surrendered my fears, entered the ocean and started having incredible fun.

However, to really understand oneself and learn from one of the greatest teachers I know, “the ocean”, it pays to slow down this internal process, at least in reflection. You see, after getting in the water and meeting with a fright of what feels like “cold water” (and it isnt’ that cold, only relatively cold to the state of night time hibernation), the percieved chill was quickly replaced by an internal warmth of my bodies muscles being active, trying to catch a wave. This process usually only takes about two waves where I feel the water go over my head and immerse me in the ocean. Then I feel like I am amongst the magic of the ocean.

Then a big wave came and I greeted it with a duck dive, followed by another and another, and before you knew it I was out “the back”. Here I found myself surrounded by a community of friendly fellow swimmers and/or body surfers. Men and women, who had also courageously chosen to “take the plunge” early in the morning, only I’m sure they wouldn’t look upon their actions quite as magnaminously as that. Perhaps for them, they are just doing what they usually do – going for a swim. I just like to frame this in a more maginificent way.

Actually, in North Gong (the beach which is in the northern reaches of the city of Wollongong) there is a group of people who go out every day, all year round, mostly older men (and I am cautious to qualify this statement, for after all who am I to talk), and some ladies who also are part of this sublte local practice.

Today I saw a couple who we often meet down at the beach, both enjoying the ocean and all it’s viscitudes. These men who regularly go out have a colloquial name;– they are fondly known as “the corks” for often as you walk down the hill to the North Gong promenade after about 7:30am in the morning, you can often see their heads bobbing in the ocean waiting for the next wave, or if they haven’t reached the ocean yet you see them traversing from the North Gong Surf club to the waters edge, donning their blue and red stripped speedos laced with a white imprint of “North Gong” on their posteriors. The morning daily ritual of bodysurfing is a wonderful thing to both witness and be part of.

Overcoming Barriers – traversing through inertia…

The transition from cold to comfortable reminds me of several other instances of overcoming inertia. I remember when I lived in a shared study house in rural Sri Lanka whilst conducting experiements as part of my PhD research back in 2007-2009, I recall having a cold shower every morning. It was a welcomed experience because the outside temperature was a humid 27 degrees, which increased during the day. However, still there was a chill in my modest ensuite bathroom, where there was only cold water. I remember vividly the emotional wave of inertia, not wanting to get under the water, expecialy coming there from dreamy sleep state. However, after the initial chill of piped water exposure, I noticed a rapid period of “acclimatisation”. I felt there was a curious feeling of empowerment in this transition period. It was neither comfortable nor uncomfortable, in the same was as jumping in the ocean this morning, I felt “alive”. Then shortly following this period came a state of enjoyment of being in the water and sense of attachement to the steady state of having a cool shower in a hot environment. It was blissful, and I didn’t want to leave. Again the inertia state had arisen and had to be overcome in order to get on with my day. Getting out of the shower, drying off, having a cup of tea, breakfast, and writing, or going to the office – which ever it was.

Water is an incredible medium for taking us into different states. A shower can be magical, pool swimming magnificent, but and ocean swim – now this is what I call blissful. But perhaps more than all of these experiences, it is the “transition through the barriers of inertia” that can bring us many opportunities to become more alive!

Here’s to that journey – have a great day!

6 thoughts on “Ocean swimming and “overcoming barriers”

    • Hey Jarrod, thanks for the comment and reflection. Actually, I have been using the “dolphin” from time to time- love it, especially for this big foamy waves that seem to have broken a little too early to slide down the face, love being at one with the drag of the swell! Thanks so much for showing me how to play with this technique!! 🤟🏼🏄❤️

      • On the coldest day of the year? Madness!

        Happy to hear your enjoying it. We’ll have to try and catch up in the future, Bish. I’m fairly busy trying to carve out a new direction atm but progress has been made.

        I hope you’re well, mate. Take care.

  1. Hi Bishan! Glad to be in touch. It’s interesting that you mention the “Letting Go” audiobook. I recorded it several years ago and the publisher, Hayhouse, has just asked me to do three more of Dr. David Hawkins’ works, I don’t have the titles yet. The only other one I’ve recorded is entitled “Success Is For You.” Do you know it? It is his philosophy applied to business scenarios. I did it shortly after Letting Go and, while it is very different in style and subject matter, it is animated by the same beneficent spirit! I am in Los Angeles, where are you? I enjoyed your blog about ocean swimming. I was speaking with a new acquaintance day before yesterday who was bitten by a juvenile Great White shark close to a Southern Californian pier coming back from an ocean swim training session. He said the shark had been hooked by a fisherman on the pier who let no one know that he had it on the line so it was thrashing about in fear and came up suddenly from below and “bit” him on the right side of his ribcage. Someone was there with a videocamera and caught his being helped ashore. Much media interest followed. He is swimming again now and seems to have healed from te experience which happened about ten years ago. Interesting synchronicity. Please feel free t continue the dialogue… All the best, Peter

  2. Hi Peter, I know the “letting go” book by David Hawkins very well. My coach actually put me onto it a while, back and ever since I started reading it, I was hooked, in a positive sense (because being hooked is perhaps the opposite of letting go- ha ha!! still working on the practice!). If you ask my partner, she will inform you that I bring that book into the topic of conversation quite liberally, as it’s been transformative to my life.

    Actually the “Letting Go” audiobook, which I completed almost a year ago had a profound positive effect on me. It felt like taking a journey into an enlightened state when I was listening to the book, and particularly on completing the entire book (even though these experiences were fleeting – NB the book covered this phenomenon also!

    David Hawkins seemed like such an amazing man – and his work is certainly an inspirational to me. As a physician who also has experienced the power of a holistic perspective in self-healing, I find his work quiet a rare gem and sounding board. However, since reading that book I seem to continually meet more people with open minds and perspectives both with and outside the arena of medicine and health.

    Actually I’m also very chuffed that you’ve contacted me by the way. I know who you are because I looked you up on facebook after I completed the book as I wanted to personally thank you for your powerful oration of the “Letting go” book, which was very effective at translating it’s content, at least for me. I initially thought I was listening to the voice of the Author, David Hawkins, but later realised that the audiobooks were recorded by readers. I looked you up and found that you had a acting background – is that correct? I wrote a lengthy message to you after completion of the book to thank you, but i’m sure it got lost in the trash and was never received, but as luck would have it you’ve contacted me via my blog (how did you find my blog by the way? – i don’t think I have much of a readership? I tend to write for fun, very sporadically!) Anyway THANK You for your oration.

    And no, I haven’t heard of “success is for you” – but I will look into it – can it be found on Amazon, and Audible?

    Finally, thank for sharing the story about the serendipitous meeting with the person who had been bitten by a shark and recovered. I couldnt’ decipher the context of your introducing this story – and wanted to clarify this with you? For me the story is very meaningful, because I have had many encounters with marine animals (and birds, and many animal species come to think of it, including humans!), which is why maybe I thought you were relating the story. I feel that through lense of consciousness we come into contact with beings and animals, and whilst I cannot draw conclusions about causality, I do intuitively feel that there is a reason and purpose for this. In my case, one memorable encounter was meeting a large Southern Right whale some years back (and perhaps you knew about this from reading my blog – as I have written about it, and about the impact it had on me, which is still unfolding https://bishansworld.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/the-whale-inside/ ) .

    Another encounter was seeing a “sea slug” in the ocean the other day when going for a regular morning swim. No matter how big or small, I feel such encounters are opportunities for awakening – perhaps?

    Anyway thanks again for being in touch!
    Kind regards
    Bishan 🙂

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