Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:

Click here to go to the next issue

Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day

#2226 - Tuesday, August 9, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz  

Starting with quotations about the ocean posted to Alpha World, I added a couple of nice articles on surfing and ... viola! I think it's a good issue!  


    "The ocean is a large drop; a drop is a small ocean."
--Ralph W. Emerson

"A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching." 
--Sri Swami Sivananda 
"No sooner is your ocean filled, than he grumbles that it might have been of better vintage. Try him with half of a Universe, of an Omnipotence, he sets to quarrelling with the proprietor of the other half, and declares himself the most maltreated of men. Always there is a black spot in our sunshine: it is even as I said, the Shadow of Ourselves."   
--Thomas Carlyle

"Beloved, you are my salvation
my only companion, my retreat and guide,
but you are also the one who breaks my heart.
You are my Noah, my soul
the conquered and the conqueror.
Open my heart and sweep it clean
from all my secrets.
You are Grace enveloped in light,
kindness and wrath,
a drop and the vast ocean
how long will you torment me?
My Sun, my flicker of hope,
do not let me die of thirst
for you are the water and the cup
you are my pain and my cure.
Release me from the web of the body
and keep my heart by your side." 


While there is a humorous tone to the following piece, especially when read in the context of the entire article, at some level there's truth to it too...

Soul Surfer

This is the highest level, the pinnacle of surfing spirituality equivalent to Nirvana, Satori, Total Enlightenment, etc. and is rarely attained. The Soul Surfer expresses himself through his unity with the breaking wave. He borrows the wave's spirit for a short while and uses his body and equipment to translate the essence of the wave's spirit into Art. Other Surfers respond to this and immediately recognize the Soul Surfer whether they admit it or not.

The Soul Surfer is a complete master of his tools, body and board. The Soul Surfer may train his body and practice with his board when not creating his Art, however, when he becomes one with the wave, his body and board are extensions of his mind. No conscious thought is expended upon the surfing techniques he uses to express the spirit of the wave with casual virtuosity. To make a musical analogy, a guitarist may woodshed his scales, but when he's jamming he's not even thinking about fingerings. He's lost in the passion of the moment. Just like a Photographic Artist who may have several cameras and many lenses, the Soul Surfer could have a quiver of a dozen boards each with a different purpose. Likewise, other Soul Surfers may have only one board, or none at all.

Soul Surfers sometimes dress strangely and say things that make seem to make sense but you have no idea what they mean. Soul Surfers often rise from sleep very early to create their Art in private. Few people witness the Art of a true Soul Surfer since they do not think to promote themselves. Many do not even realize they have attained the highest level of surfing spirituality or appreciate their tremendous skill as they are beyond the need for any sort of evaluation. Those that do become conscious of their own expertise often regress to the lower level of Whore which sadly and paradoxically means you will almost never see the Art of a Soul Surfer unless you know one personally or are lucky enough to be at the right break at the right time.

Soul Surfers use any sort of surfing equipment: longboard, shortboard or no board at all. They use whatever tool their Art requires to express the spirit of the wave and are constantly evolving in their ongoing exploration of the wave-human unity. Soul Surfers are the human embodiment of Stoke.



Now meet a real soul surfer...

Born in Delaware, raised in Hawaii by a "materialistic Dad" and a "Southern Baptist Mom", Karma Lekshe largely found her connection to spirituality while surfing the waves near Honolulu.

A surfing competition led her to Japan, which then took her to India. Compelled by the Tibetan culture and spirituality in Dharamsala, she stayed for a year. When money ran out, she sold her guitar back at home and stayed another year. By 1987, she was ready to start her first project, without any money, for eight nuns who had recently walked out of Tibet. Today, with 115 students and many innovative programs, the Jamyang Foundation has revolutionized many cultural paradigms and is seen as a model for emerging initiatives.

Through her well-researched academic work, Karma Lekshe also brings new insights to traditional interpretations of history; sometimes she simply brings stories back to life:

Mahaprajapati walked several hundred miles to implore Sakyamuni Buddha for an "order of women mendicants." On the basis of her work, the Buddha agreed that the spiritual potential of women and men is equal, and he recognized the right of women to wear the garb of a mendicant.

Despite Karma Lekshe's academic -- she has 2 masters and a PhD -- and social action background, she is an exemplar for leading an integrated life. "Practice rests on 3 pillars. Each path is individual but for me, meditation informs scholarship, scholarship informs social action, social action informs contemplation."

In the late 80s, she was bit by a poisonous viper that could've ended her life. Her arm was paralyzed but she somehow survived. With an iron will and unwavering committment, Karma Lekshe keeps the revolution going.

top of page