I often think of this when I dive. It's a metaphor that helps guide and describe my experiences when going into the other 71%. Perhaps that is why I am currently finding comfort in diving--because it forces me to be Present and leave my active Mind on the surface.
The metaphor these spiritual guides use to teach their followers helps me visualize an abstract concept, such as thoughts and present stillness. The moving practice in Presence, which is diving for me, brings me to that calm and still point. Well...not all the time. When I'm not preoccupied with my mask fogging up, or worrying about being attacked by a shark, or trying to figure out how to turn with greater ease only using my fins, or becoming irritated when other divers swim directly on top of me, or trying not to hit the coral or lose my dive-master...when I stop doing all that, I'm usually closer to Presence than I am above the surface.
Some days, when I'm below the waves of my mind, I'm calmly inquisitive and joyfully free, like the marine life that I'm floating among. Other days, it's a struggle and although my body is still in the calm and deep, my mind is being thrown around like the waves above.
Aside from the physical sensation of slowly drifting through a gravity-reduced state, I also enjoy the auditory aspect of diving. For the majority of the dive, there are three things you can hear: bubbles, your breathing and silence. The difference between these three stimuli being heard upon land compared to in water is that they are much more profound and embracing under water. It's easy to get lost in the myriad of sounds on tierra firme, including those voices in our heads that create their own noise, but it's much more difficult to do so underwater. Everything is amplified in a manner that almost forces you to continuously pay attention to your breathing, the most basic human function that brings me back into Presence, and that which often goes unnoticed in daily life. When you exhale to control your vertical buoyancy, you can notice the space between your breaths, and the utter silence is so loud that it awakens you to its Presence. Breathing in and out again, looking up and watching the bubbles morph and shimmer against a backlit surface reminds me that sometimes the simplest things in life, bubbles under water, bring the most happiness.
The other aspect of diving that never gets old is the colors one is witness to in a space that filters away what can only be seen terrestrially. The colors that are found on living things beneath the world of oxygen are hues and tones that do not exist, and cannot possibly be found, on a color wheel. Above ground, humans are capable of recreating nearly every conceivable color they see with their bare eyes through technological advances. However, the colors that are found in this state of matter are not capable of being reproduced through human manipulation. They are vivid, dynamic, deeply fluorescent and unique to this sea-born world. And in my opinion, they should stay that way.
Jerry Garcia once said, "If we had known about diving in the 60's, we'd never have needed drugs." I don't know if diving is as mind-altering as getting high, but for me, it's more mind-opening and awakening.
Aside from all the sensory stimuli that validates diving into the unknown for me, perhaps the one that brings me back most is the reminder that when it's raining and storming on the surface, it's still calm and peaceful down below.