Dear Quiet Minds,
Why is it that when we stare out into the ocean, we feel inner peace?
Is it the beautiful ripples crawling towards the shore? The freshness of the sand under your wriggling toes? The salty breeze? The vastness, the large open blue that never ends?
This beginning of April has welcomed me with a rush of stress and anxiety as deadlines start approaching. Even though we’re so close to the end of the semester, there are so many obstacles I still have to overcome which make me feel extremely nervous. However, this weekend I got the chance to go to the beach for a little while, and just looking out at the horizon made me feel happiness and peace.
But why does the ocean make us feel this way?
My theory is that the minute you stare out into the ocean, you’re subtly in shock. It’s something that doesn’t slap you in the face. Instead, it’s a wave of realization that sweeps into you without you even recognizing it. You stare out in awe at the ocean’s grandiosity and, for a moment, you notice that there is something out there that’s bigger than you. It’s a humbling experience.
Our individualistic nature sometimes causes us to forget that the world is not only made of us and our problems. Usually throughout the week, we keep our head down as we dig through our work and daily routine. We fix problems and then deal with new problems that surface every day, but sometimes we forget to put our head up and look outside ourselves for a bit. When we’re drowning in life, our own problems and insecurities become the biggest things imaginable. We’re sometimes so busy looking down at the stubborn grains of sand in our hands that we forget about the piles and piles of unexplored sand surrounding us. Seeing that there is more in the world allows us to keep going. For once, we realize that we can’t reach perfection because perfection has already been created.
This instant relief fills you with sudden happiness. You no longer have to prove anything or try your best or show everyone that you have it all together. Instead, you can just feel the whooshing of the breeze drowning out the noise of your problems and enjoy the comforting silence. We’re always complaining, we want happiness, we want peace, we want love, but all those emotions you’ve been striving for after a week of stress are simply given to you, in a second, as you stare at the sun’s beautifully warm light and hear the ocean’s loud sighs of relaxation. The ocean looks at you and says, “You want happiness, gaze at the treasures I’ve saved for you. You want peace, stare at my horizon. You want love, jump into my waves and they will hug you.”
It doesn’t know about social constructs, or loud, judgmental people, or impossible standards.
It just knows how to be an ocean. And that’s enough.