Zin decided that he needed more focus in his own meditation, which he knew he could find in a visit to the ocean. It would be a week long journey, yet each day he felt a stronger pull. When he could ignore the feeling no longer, he informed the villagers that he would be leaving on a journey to the distant ocean and return in a month or so. The villagers were sad to see him leave, but generously loaded him up with supplies and wished him well. It took six and a half days to reach the shore. There he breathed deeply of the salt air and set out to find a place to settle down. He found the perfect spot an hour later along the rocky headland. It was a large flat rock that jutted out above the crashing surf. He immediately settled himself down and began to breathe.
Zin spent many days on the rock listening to the waves crashing below. He ate sparingly and slept under the stars. He trained in the morning and then sat in meditation during the afternoon. After a while he felt as if he had become part of the vast ocean itself. The flow of his breath moved with the waves.
The rolling of the waves never stopped and eventually he became enveloped in their sound. As he sat breathing, merging with the rhythm of the ocean, he began to hear the unique voice of each wave. Many of the waves seemed proud of their ability to crash upon the rocks. A few of them tried to soak the sage with their spray as they pounded the headland. Zin smiled at each of them. There was one small wave, however, that was very unhappy. “I’m so miserable,” it moaned. “The other waves are big and powerful, while I’m little and weak. Why is life so unfair?”
“You only think it is because you haven’t seen your own nature clearly. You think you are a wave and you think you are suffering. In reality you are neither,” Zin said.
“What?” the small wave exclaimed. “I’m not a wave! But it’s obvious that I am a wave! I’ve got my crest, see? And there’s my wake, little as it is. What do you mean I’m not a wave?”
“You call yourself a wave, but that is merely a temporary form you assume for a short time. You are really just water! When you understand that this is your fundamental nature, you will no longer be confused about being a wave, and you will be free of your misery.”
“If I’m water, what about the other waves?”
“They are simply water too. They may temporarily assume the form of a wave somewhat larger than you, but that doesn’t change their fundamental essence—water.”
“Then why am I so miserable?” the wave asked.
“By comparing yourself to others, you perceive some sort of inequality. People do this as well. Everyone needs to realize that we are all connected in a fundamental way… a part of the greater whole.”
“And this form is merely an illusion of being separate from the whole,” the wave said.
“Exactly,” Zin replied.
At that moment the little wave crashed upon the rocks below Zin and was washed back into the ocean.
More Wandering Sage Wisdom is available at: http://wanderingsagewisdom.blogspot.com.