The coastline was rocky. Jagged, fibrous rocks that jutted out into the surf. The waves were intense, beating mercilessly into the rocky shore. A swimmer would be absolutely mad to attempt negotiating these waters. And yet, there I was.
I don’t know how I got into my situation. The only thing I knew is, as the dream came into view and I was transported to that place, I began fighting. I threw every bit of myself into fighting those waves. And as my body, like a rag doll, was flung upon the rocks, and despite the mist glazing my eyes and the indescribable pain overcoming me, I gripped those jagged rocks as hard as I could. My hands were bloody. It must have been the adrenaline coursing through me that prevented me from feeling the pain in all its rawness, lest I succumb.
But the waves kept coming, more intensely this time. And with each crash, I lost my grip. Pools of blood wiped clean from the rock where my hand had just cemented itself in the name of survival as my body, losing the ability to live once again submerged below the waves.
They say your life flashes before you eyes. Mine didn’t. Amid the torment of nature, I thought of nothing. Then, it came to me. I have lost, I thought. My need to live is outweighed by my inability to live. Nature, in its awesomeness, will claim me as its next spoil. And I will honor it, I continued thinking.
It was at the moment I stopped thrashing. I suspended the effort of life. I gave up. I gave in. My arms and legs, like cannons on a battlefield of surrender, were silence. I was listless as my body way carried away and as I slipped deeper and deeper into the murky torrent.
Suddenly, my descent stopped. I became strangely buoyant and began to rise despite not attempting to do so. My arms and legs, broken and bruised, floated peacefully as I ascended. I looked up, the salt no longer stinging my eyes, to the sunlight above. The clouds had moved off and the glimmering sea shrouded the radiant sun beautifully, tranquilly.
I emerged. I breathed. I am alive, I thought. How did this happen? “I must fight again,” I thought, “or I’ll hit the rocks.” But my arms were too tired. I would surely be dragged under once more. But now the waters had been stilled. The jagged, unforgiving rocks, now replaced by smooth, inviting beach line. The gentle tide carrying me forward to the sand, as thought every molecule were conspiring together to deliver me to safety and sanctuary.
Soon, I drifted up to the beach and managed to muster enough strength to roll over. The sun lit every glimmering bead of salt water on my naked body. And warmed me. I looked at the sun as my eyes dried and felt its embrace.
Is this heaven? I thought.
Have I died?
We’re the stories of an afterlife really true?
But it couldn’t have been. I was still battered and bruised. I was still in pain. My body was the same body I apparently used to battle the rocks that were no longer there.
As I struggled to understand what had happened, a voice came to me. It said calmly and lovingly, “you surrendered and that’s all I wanted from you.”
In giving in, I’d become one with this existence. I suspended my tireless and fruitless pursuit of control. I gave up and, in doing so, became what I needed to be but had always been, never to bruise again. Rather, to allow. To allow those waves to engulf me. To allow myself to surrender.