Riding the wave


The soundtrack is Beach Boys’ Surfin Safari. Seemingly effortlessly, you surf the ocean waves.

As someone who once tried windsurfing and spent far more time lying actually on top of the sail looking at the fishes than standing on the board, this is an appealing image!

I came across a mindfulness concept to help us respond differently to cravings or urges we might have, not giving into them but also not going into full battle mode. As you may know, fighting our cravings doesn’t always work. And yet we want to make a choice, to practice self control and not give into them.

The idea is to acknowledge the craving or urge, seeing it as a wave. The urge can increase in intensity; the urge can decrease in intensity – like a wave. But like a wave it will eventually dissipate.

And where are you in this picture? You are the surfer, riding the wave, gliding on your surf board. You are not fighting the wave and not giving into the wave. You are acknowledging it and staying with it as long as necessary.

We can make a choice to go with the wave, stay on top of it, surf it. We don’t have to act upon the craving or urge; we just acknowledge it and stay with it for as long as it lasts.

As we do this, perhaps imagining our breath as our surfboard, we can explore behind the craving or the urge. Gently and kindly, we can ask ourselves what the deeper need is inside us of which the craving or urge is a symptom.

We used this mindfulness concept – surfing the urge – at a recent mindfulness event in Cheltenham on the theme of self-control, enjoying watching a surfing video (you know the soundtrack!) and then using it in a meditation.

Afterwards we spent some time reflecting individually on what might be vulnerabilities in our self-image and what facts we might use – perhaps a daily mantra? – to put ourselves on a firmer footing. Then when a craving or urge strikes perhaps the wave will not be so high or last quite so long – and we will ride that wave!

In my private reflections I settled on a mantra which starts ‘God loves me.’ It went on with another phrase but those three words are so profound it might take me a life time before I am ready to – or need to – move on.

This is Mindful Monday on 20 May 2019.

If you live in Cheltenham or nearby, see here for details of forthcoming events – and get in touch to know more.



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