Aquatic Meditation?

 When I was a little toddler it was apparent to my Dad that I would fall in love with swimming. As a little guy I ran to the edge of the pool at Jones Beach in Long Island, NY, grinning from ear to ear. I wanted to jump into the water and swim like my Dad. “Papi, get him”, nervously yelled my Mom instructing my Father to grab me before I plunged into the pool. My father, already aware of my presence at the pool’s edge and having the situation under control, hollered, “He’s fine, let’s see what he does.” I watched him watching me and with no hesitation, I jumped into the water head first. He scooped me into his arms and we both smiled from ear to ear.

Well, at least that is how I recall my father telling the story. Ever since then the pool became the place for me where stress is unable to follow.

Beginning this past July, the childish like pleasure of being in the water has returned. The opportunity to once again swim laps is something I didn’t realize would feel so freeing. In the water there’s no need for a cane or a sighted guide. I can simply feel the side of the pool, navigating my way through the lane. Counting the number of strokes from one end to the other enables me to determine when I am approaching the end of the lane.

I realized the last few times in the pool that counting my strokes makes the activity of swimming feel meditative.  I learned a meditation technique several years ago, which called for counting breaths. As a way to clear the mind, I was told to count 1 as I inhaled and 2 as I exhaled. I repeated this count for the duration.  The purpose of this repetition was to allow me to concentrate on not concentrating. (Get it?)

While swimming from one end of the pool to the other and counting, I can truly feel a weight being lifted. In fact, one of the instructor’s working with a client in the pool commented to me that I appear as though I was so happy actually even smiling. For the record, I have never been known for spontaneous smiling. I have to say though, I kinda dig it!

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