We’re chest deep in the Pacific Ocean, our bodies encased like giant black caterpillars in thick wet suits, clinging to powder blue and pink surf boards. Above the sun is shining but here on earth the water, in early April, is frigid. Every now and again the water warmed by my body is joined by a trickle of ocean that seeps down my back or through my gloves and I remember how cold winter really is.

Surfing near Tofino, Vancouver Island

Surfing near Tofino, Vancouver Island

Jenn and I are novice surfers but already can taste the hint of perfection that comes when we are able to stand atop a wave and experience how the ocean feels as it moves across the skin of the earth.

We catch a few more waves and ride them and get put through the ringer a few times, and while we’re bobbing along in the ocean Jenn says “the last time we were in the ocean it was the Arabian Sea.”

Father and Sons on the Beach, Varkala, India

Father and Sons on the Beach, Varkala, India

Then the water was warm. We were in Varkala, India. We dove through the breaks and floated north in the current; the afternoon sun was so hot it was hard to be out in it.

Varkala is a temple town. For more than 2000 years Hindu’s have made a pilgrimage to Janardhana Temple; each morning and evening they descend the temple’s steps and make their way through the crowded streets to the ocean where they receive the puja blessing, and where many then wade into the ocean as part of their religious ritual.

I don’t know the significance. I’ve read that in the sacred waters of the Arabian Sea Hindu’s can plead for salvation for the souls of their departed loved ones.

What is clear is that these water’s are holy. Step into these waves, and you are stepping into healing waters of salvation.

But then, so are all the waters of this sacred earth.

The waves break against our bodies and in doing so, carry away a little bit of us; cleanse us of what hurts us, what makes us afraid, what comes between us and that which we love. And these healing waters carry something to us as well; the buoyant peace born from the knowledge that all human kind are ripples on the sea of creation.

Rio, French Beach, Vancouver Island

Rio, French Beach, Vancouver Island

Rio and Silas understand this intuitively, and may someday even create their own language of expression for this miracle. Both boys have become so much the ocean; are often most complete when racing the shoreline waves on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

Imagine, says Deepak Chopra, that all life is an ocean; you and I are waves. Temporary, forming and moving, and diminishing. He says this in the context of Quantum Physics, but from the perspective of Hindu mysticism: we are localized expressions of the life’s yearning to exist; the universe’s restless effort to organize the mass of energy and information born at the moment of creation, of the Big Bang, into momentary concentrations of existence. Temporary, but beautiful.

We are waves. We descend into waves to seek salvation. We ride waves to find perfection. Sometimes we sink beneath them. Sometimes we emerge cleansed and whole. Sometimes we emerge holy.

Pilgrim, Varkala

Pilgrim, Varkala