THE DROP OF WATER AND THE SEA
Stone: all Centering stones.
The Mantra: So’ham
As the sea would still remain essentially the same if there were no waves
but no wave can be there without the sea, so none
can ever exist apart from the Divine.
a) The Prajna-Paramita introduces the issue thus:
From the perspective of eternity
each person and each physical object is like a brief, disturbed
drop of water in an unbounded ocean.
The goal of enlightenment is to understand this – more precisely, to experience this:
to see that the distinction between the self and the Universe
is a false dichotomy.
The way that the Yoga Vashista put it is:
One who is unified with the universal soul resembles a wave
that mixes altogether with the ocean.
The distinction between the drop of water that each one of us is and the whole sea (the Divine) is unreal.
An isolated drop of water will soon evaporate, but merging into the ocean
and becoming one with it shares its immensity
becoming one with it.
The major difficulty in finding out who we really are consists in the fact that on different levels of our being
we are at the same time a little drop of water
and the whole sea.
At first everyone attempts to understand the whole “sea”, the Divine,
from the narrow viewpoint of the little drop of water,
which of course is impossible.
Schopenhauer adds that:
An individual drop can be merged with the ocean, and still remain
meaningful. He has found his place.
Have you found your place already?
If not, or not very well, why not?
Centuries before Schopenhauer, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali had already said that
The happiness of the drop
is to die in the river.
Because then it becomes one with the river.
The river goes to the Ocean.
St. Teresa of Avila made the simile of a soul uniting with God as:
A raindrop falling into a river and merging with its water to never
again being separated from it.
Thich Nhat Hanh adds that:
The wave does not need to die to become water.
She is already water.
In the sense he means, the water is the Divine.
What does this tell you?
According to Dongshan,
Only special souls can perceive how a drop merging into the sea
knows only the ocean absorbed in itself.
Leonard Cohen warns that:
If you don’t become the ocean
you will be seasick every day
b) Our personality and even most of our “individuality”
is like an isolated drop of water,
and so is the subliminal memory of all the “drops” that we have identified ourselves with in the past.
There only one way for a little drop to begin to comprehend the sea of which it is a part:
not to be any longer be concerned so much about its preferences,
let go of its attachment to be carried around by
a particular wave instead of another.
You ARE that drop.
Fakhruddin Iraqi points out that:
“Waves” we call them,
but there is only the Sea.
Thich Nhat Hanh agrees:
Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment
the wave realizes it is water.
On the surface of your being, you are still one of the waves.
What does the “water” means to you?
And the whole ocean?
As Yogananda noted,
The wave is the same as the ocean, though
it is not the whole ocean.
So each wave of creation is a part of the eternal Ocean of Spirit.
The Ocean can exist without the waves, but the waves
cannot exist without the Ocean.
c) As long as we keep identifying ourselves
with a small drop of water instead of the universal Sea,
we will keep being thrown here and there, sometimes even on the rocks
by the waves of the unexamined forces of our life.
Abdul Qader Bedil said that
Until the drop emerged from the sea the ocean
wasn’t aware of all its splendor.
What does this imply?
That as Wu Hsin said,
When a water bubble on the ocean bursts,
it returns to the ocean.
There is great joy when the raindrop
is reunited with the ocean.
Likewise, there is great joy
What dies, other than a story
filled with much sorrow andIntermittent joy?
The waves are made of countless deaths, as they change
shape all the time. The only salvation
is being the water.
How will you be the water?
The water is our original nature.
This is what must be realized
Words of Power:
Why would anyone remain a small drop of water
when he can be the whole ocean?
“Don’t wait any longer. Dive in the ocean,
Leave and let the sea be you.”
From the Quest:
While writing this chapter I suddenly remembered that long ago I had a dream in which although I had not visualized myself as a drop of sea water it was the same thing, for I kept being thrown around right and left by the waves, suffocated by them…
And then suddenly
I was the whole sea, and felt such an immense peace
and immensity as never before
I woke up crying with joy.
Stop being an apparently insignificant little drop and become
the whole Ocean, the Divine.
There are as many ways as there are human beings, of which finding one’s own Teacher, various kinds of Yoga, Sufism and Zen, have been found to be the most effective.
Bur the one truly indispensable thing, without which all will come to nought,
Is a process of DISIDENTIFICATION from our superficial “I”,
the little “drop” that imprisons us.
Wu Hsin had the right attitude:
I am the origin and terminus of every thought, of every movement,
as waves arise and end in water. As every wave occurs
in the ocean, all phenomena occur in me.
Rumi’s advice is:
You’ve been walking the ocean’s edge, holding up your robes
to keep them dry.
You must dive naked under, and deeper under, a thousand times
deeper and deeper under.
Mère points out the best Way:
On the surface is the storm, the sea is in turmoil, waves clash and leap one on another and break with a mighty uproar.
But all the time, under this water in fury, are vast smiling expanses,
peaceful and motionless.
They look upon the surface agitation as an indispensable act; for matter has to be vigorously churned if it is to become capable of manifesting entirely the divine light.
Behind the troubled appearance, behind the struggle and anguish of the conflict,
the consciousness remains ﬁrm at its post;
observing all the movements of the outer being, it intervenes only
to rectify direction and position, so as not to allow
the play to become too dramatic.
Babaji adds that:
Now the Lord is showing us we aren’t just bubbles in a canal, but rather bubbles in the great ocean.
As long as we have individuality we are seen as bubbles;
when we disappear we are one with the ocean.
The way that Wu Hsin put it is:
When a water bubble on the ocean bursts,
it returns to the ocean.
This is death;all deaths.Your death
and my death.
Returning to the Source,
what is there to fear?
Question/ko’han 1 and 2:
Are you aware that
you are the Ocean, not the little drop
of water of your “I”?
If yes, have your also FELT it in your heart?
Question/ko’han 3 and 4:
What could a drop of water possibly lose by becoming the whole sea?
What could you possibly lose by letting go of your little “I” and becoming one with the Divine?
Question/ko’han 5 to 7:
As Alan Watts noted,
You are a function of what the whole Universe is doing in the same
way that a wave is a function of what
the whole ocean is doing.
Can you see this?
If yes, what does it imply?
If yes, what will you DO about it?
Leonard Cohen has the last word:
And Jesus was a sailor
when he walked upon the water
and he spent a long time watching
from his lonely wooden tower
and when he knew for certain
only drowning men could see him
He said: all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them.
What does the sea represents?
How will it free you?
1) Let go
of the futile, insanely hopeless and frustrating effort
in trying to control the waves,
but endeavor instead to understand WHY you ended up feeling separate from the sea which is who you truly are.
Ask yourself instead:
Why do I feel separate from the Sea?
Why do I become identified with every wave
that carries me along?
Please answer these questions before reading on.
2) Meditate on these verses of Kabir:
I have been thinking of the difference
between water and the waves on it. Rising,
water’s still water, falling back
it is water, will you give me a hint
how to tell them apart?
Because someone has made up the word
“wave,” do I have to distinguish it from water?
Looking and looking for Him
I lost myself;
the drop merged with the Sea –
who can find it now?
3) Meditate also on this passage of Mere:
It is as when a drop of water falls into the sea;
if it still kept there its separate identity, it would remain a little
drop of water and nothing more, a little drop
crushed by all the immensity around,
because it has not surrendered.
But, surrendering, it unites with the sea and participates in the nature
and power and vastness of the whole sea.
If he stands in front, but separated, without any contact, he will remain what he is, a little drop of water in the measureless vastness.
There is no ambiguity or vagueness in the movement, it is clear and strong and deﬁnite.
If a small human mind stands in front of the Divine Universal Mind
and clings to its separateness, it will remain what it is,
a small bounded thing,
incapable of knowing the nature of the higher reality or even of coming in contact with it. The two continue to stand apart and are, qualitatively as well as quantitatively, quite different from each other.
But if the little human mind surrenders, it will be merged in the Divine Universal Mind;
it will be one in quality and quantity with it; losing nothing but its own
limitations and deformations, it will receive from it
its vastness and luminous clearness.
1) These words of Ramesh S. Balsekar:
The individual does not finally merge with his original nature any more than a wave merges with water.
They were not different to begin with. A wave is nothing more
than the shifting shape of the water itself.
It is not a question of joining separate things
but of the abandonment of something inessential and superficial,
the false identity of a separate individual entity.
2) This passage of Thich Nhat Hanh
Let us visualize the waves on the ocean, several waves appearing on the surface of the ocean. Some waves are big, there are those that are small, and each wave seems to have its own life.
A wave may have ideas like, ‘I am a wave. I am only a wave among many waves. I am smaller than the other wave. I am less beautiful. I last less than the other wave.’ ideas like that.
A wave can be caught in a jail.
3) This passage of Sogyal Rimpoche:
A wave in the sea seen in one way appears to have a distinct identity, an end and a beginning, a birth and a death.
Seen in another way the wave itself doesn’t really exist
but is just the behavior of water,
“empty” of any separate identity but “full” of water. So when you really think about the wave, you come to realize that it is something that has been made temporarily possible by wind and water, and is dependent on a set of constantly changing circumstances.
You also realize that
every wave is related to every other wave.
To be or not to be….but the real Question is:
to be a tiny drop or the whole sea?
Infinitely the sea loves the drop, so why
so many fear to merge into it?