The churning of the outgoing tide tugged against my torso as I wedged my bare feet into the bottom of a channel that ran in between a sandbar and an oyster bed along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The estuary was thick with saltwater and brimming with life—above and below the waterline. I was wade fishing, and maybe baptizing myself too.
My cousin Connor was fishing near our beached canoe, and his hound dog Missy kept chasing the bobber as he cast his line out into the briny creek. Connor would yell at her to stay put, but finally, he just gave up and started laughing as she swam freely back and forth in a game of aquatic fetch.
In the ocean, there is perpetual flow. On the land, it is the same. Everything moves until it comes to rest. This is the cycle of life. This is stillness in action.
In AYP, we talk about purification and opening. The practices purify the obstructions lodged in our nervous system, thereby opening our heart and mind to a more divine bandwidth of ongoing experience. Just as the ocean flows through its channels and estuaries, so does inner silence and energy move through our microcosmic system of individuality.
When the ocean becomes polluted, we clean it up. When the mind becomes tainted with delusion, we do the same. And if we don't do it, nature will surely find a way to take care of the job. Nature has plenty of self-regulating mechanisms that protect and sustain its organisms, and since human beings are an extension of nature, we have the same capabilities and instincts to survive, and better yet, to thrive in our own ecosystem.
Going with the flow of purification and opening is an art. It takes time. It takes finesse. It takes devotion. Even though I've got five solid years of AYP under my belt, it still feels like I'm just scratching the surface. I can sense the vastness of the interior, and I know that hidden worlds exist in incomprehensible abundance. I catch glimpses, and I persist with the navigation. I fall into stillness, and I emerge on the surface again. In short, I continue.
When Connor and I got back in the canoe, the paddling felt different. Wading in the gulf stream and dunking my head underwater had refreshed me. There was a palpable rejuvenation that resulted from exposure to the motherly element. My awareness became more acute and lucid, and in a small way, I was reborn.
To surrender to the elements is to die and be born again, and each time, we get a little bit closer to Paradise. Only in returning to where we come from can we move forward into the unknown. Once again, a paradox unfolds.
The inner sensuality of active surrender is more than a passive mindfulness. It is a mindfulness with purpose. It is a well-structured, systematic program that also lends itself to spontaneity and improvisation. It is the best of both worlds. It is the genius of AYP.
The higher power is in us.