Source: Soul Surfing

We don’t know what goes on in the brain of a surfer when he’s riding the wave,but we do know that one of the most common mystical experiences a surfer has is a feeling of oneness with the ocean. And while we don’t know what goes on in the brain of a surfer while he’s riding the wave, we do know what goes on in the brain of people who are meditating.

Surfing has more high-risk variables than other sports. Breaks change, swell directions alter the shape of the wave, the size of the swell varies and wind direction affects everything. Surfing has more moving parts than and because of that it requires the same laser pinpoint focused concentration to ride a wave as it does to meditate.

Neuroscientist Andrew Newberg found that the right parietal lobe — the part of the brain that allows us to orientate ourselves in space — stops accepting information in and stops putting information out during moments of intense concentration. Because it’s the part of the brain that helps us separate self from other, when this portion of the brain is shut down, if you demand an answer from it and say ‘Where am I right now?’ it has no other option but to tell you that at this particular moment, you’re one with everything. Everyone is hardwired for this experience, so it’s not just surfers.

Sitting out on the water is being able to connect with that primordial rhythm in a wild and ever-changing, extraordinary dance. We’re dancing with something that’s very alive, that’s in this moment, and that as human beings we can’t control.” Not only does surfing “vibrate us to a higher frequency, but it’s also a character builder, teaching us about fear, commitment, impermanence, finding harmony with others and falling down and getting back up again.

Whether it’s a mystical experience or simply a serious adrenaline rush, there’s something about paddling out into a monstrous wall of water, popping up to one’s feet and then gliding down the front of a wave. At first the wave controls you; but once you’re on it, it’s more like you’re working together. Think of it as an intimate partnership with nature that can be thrilling, relaxing and healing.

4 Responses

  1. “Only skydivers know why the birds sing.”

    Love this quote. I feel a “oneness” with it.

  2. michael j,

    A feeling of oneness transcends any abstracts words.

    Skydiving is famous and popular for an immediate feeling of oneness.

    “Only skydivers know why the birds sing.”


  3. Sid,

    Never surfed in my life, but I meditate and have compared the feeling of oneness I feel with the experience I had when jumping out of an airplane and sensing that I was “at one” with the world.

    Even though it was 40 years ago, I can still recall the sensation of awe and wonder with the connection I felt.

    But how do you explain that to someone who never parachuted? Maybe compare it to someone who experienced similar reactions while surfing.

    michael j

  4. Sounds like you know surfing as a personal experience. Too bad I’m over the hill for taking on such a sport. I’ll have to stick to meditating I think.

    I always learn something when I come here. Regarding the parietal lobe and how it shuts down during intense concentration…it’s amazing to me how science is now discovering these aspects of our spiritual being. Gotta love it!

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