Continually surging; flowing from placid calm to stupendously raging gale, the ocean aptly
symbolizes the collective consciousness. It is as the common denominator of consciousness, the one
substance in which we all share origin as do the transitory waves on the surface of the watery deep.
Many are the sailors who have felt a mystical attraction to the ocean, a oneness with the cosmos
in living harmoniously with it mysteries and seething
latent energy. Joshua Sloacum, an eloquent and
mystic sailor who sailed around the world alone, wrote of a time when he chose to sail on past land
after a month or so at sea; saying he preferred the grander communion of the ocean to the
distractions of land. The mystical attachments that sailors feel for the ocean are common
to poets, psychologists and all who wander along shores and docks, vicariously imagining the
For eighteen months I sailed on a small yacht across thousands of watery miles in the South Pacific,
learning the basics of seamanship, experiencing mystical communion, and discovering a bit about
myself. In the midst of the ocean, many distracting vibrations of the external world are eliminated.
The noise and dirty air, along with the sense of overcrowding are left behind; one sails away from
the overstimulation of modern life. Even time loses its fast regular ticking and is a
vague sense of
distance summed up in the question. How many thousand miles downwind and astern is land?
Time and space impress our consciousness to a relative degree dependent upon their importance to
the successful functioning of our being. When working a job for forty hours a week, one must learn
to regulate consciousness to efficiently fulfill the necessary obligations, be at the right place at the
right time, and generally organize the mind like an alarm clock. But when sailing for miles of
unending ocean, one falls into the eternal limbo of being at sea.
Harmonizing with the positive vibrations of one's environment is a prerequisite of mystical
attunement with the Cosmic. For those first few days on a small ship, the rhythms of the ocean can
almost be overwhelming to the physical organism -- the
initiation and the purification. Then, as the
being adjusts to the vast rhythms, a state of harmony is experienced that the uninitiated could hardly
Sailing over the ocean is like skimming over the outer atmosphere of the earth. At sea, I knew that
there was a world pulsing with life beneath me, but on the surface, any sign of living creatures was
rare. People look at the ocean and see the waves of water moving. They see the whitecaps and foam,
and they regard this expanse of motion as it laps upon their solid shores. Sailors look at the ocean,
the waves, the whitecaps and the foam. They notice the wind as it blows upon the surface - the
wind and waves building up. They notice the dire; action of the wind and whether it holds steady
from a particular point of the compass, for the veering of the wind will
drastically alter the course
they are steering.