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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 parlance to poets, psychologists and all who wander along shores and docks, vicariously imagining the mariner's lot.

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 comprehend.

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.

   
  Questions
   
  1. (a) What does the ocean symbolize ?
    (b) How have sailors lived with the ocean ?
    (c) What is the author's experience on the ocean ?
       
  2.   Compare the use of the mind in routine life and being on the ocean.
       
  3. (a) Describe what happens initially and on a long sea journey.
    (b) What happens later on ?
    (c) How is sailing over the sea like skimming over the atmosphere ?
       
       
  4.   For each of the following words give one word or short phrase ( not more than seven words ) which has the same meaning as it has in the passage.
      i.   harmoniously   v.   overwhelming
      ii.   latent   vi.   initiation
      iii.   parlance   vii.   expanse
      iv.   vague   viii.   drastically
       
  5. In less than 160 words, summarize the author's feelings for the sea and its harmony.
       
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  Answers
       
  1. (a) It symbolizes the consciousness of the world as one mass consciousness.
    (b) Sailors have felt a mystical attraction to the ocean and a oneness with the cosmic.
    (c) The author sailed the ocean for 18 months on a small yacht across vast distances.
       
  2.   In routine life the mind is regulated to efficiency while in the vast ocean, there is no sense of time, but just one continuum.
       
  3. (a) The first few days at sea are spent in initiation and in purification.
    (b) Then the sailor experiences a sense of harmony with the vast ocean.
    (c) While at sea the author felt that there was a world beneath him, just like we would feel if were in the atmosphere looking down at the world.
       
  4. i peacefully
    ii potential
    iii talk
    iv uncertain
    v awesome
    vi beginning
    vii vastness
    viii altogether
       
  5. The changes from calm to raging gale and the continually surging of the ocean symbolizes collective consciousness. Many sailors have felt a mystical attraction for the ocean like to the cosmos and living in it in harmony. I sailed on a small yacht for eighteen months over thousands of miles of sea and experienced mystical communion while discovering a little about myself. The middle of the sea is free of distractions, noise, dirt and the sense of overcrowding. Time too seems to stand still and it is replaced by a sense of distance. In the real world, time and routine keep us to a schedule and a sense of having to be at the right place at the right time -- dominated by the clock. In the ocean, there is no such feeling as everything is a continuum. Sailing over the sea gives a feeling of being over the atmosphere. In both cases, we feel the throbbing of life below us. ( 160 words )
           
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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