One of my very favorite places is the beach. Sure, the threeS’s are an attraction: sun, sand, and seafood. But the maindraw is the ocean. The ocean symbolizes all of life,carrying many analogies that help me stay in tune with themeaning of life.

Reason One: The ocean calms. It infuses with the peace andtranquility of understanding and insight. Subconsciously wesay, "Oh, this is what life is all about. It isn’t somysterious after all." Someone recently said to me, "It’snatural to be at the ocean." What that means to me is thatthe ocean is one of the places my soul wants me to be--because there I can more easily see my truths about life.

Reason Two: The ocean is vast, mysterious, and multifaceted.It can be peaceful one moment and terrifying the next. Theocean is deep, unexplored at its deepest reaches. Filledwith an incomprehensible array of life, it is simultaneouslycomplex and simple. Our lives are also vast, mysterious, andmultifaceted--we’re peaceful one moment, terrified the next.Seeing a reflection of life outside of me helps me to acceptthe many unknowns about life.

Reason Three: The ocean reminds me that life is eternal. Theocean is relentless, ever changing yet always the same. Eachmoment of the ocean is different from the moment before.Colors change with the shifting light. Waves change with theshifting wind. Water temperatures fluctuate, sometimesabruptly. Yet with the constant change there is also afamiliar continuity. This reminds me that life goes on.Though a wave may crash upon the beach and appear destroyed,the inherent life force of the wave silently retreats toeventually form a new wave.

Reason Four: I remember that to co-exist successfully inlife I must join an oncoming force at just the right time.Waves can batter or propel, as can life’s new circumstances.Standing firm in the face of a wave requires me to be rigid,muscles tensed, and body braced against the batteringonslaught. I can stand firm against each wave, but theenergy required eventually takes its toll. Or I can catch awave at its peak, join with it, and ride it out. The ridecan be exhilarating and joyous. Such is life. Accept andjoin with the force of a new life circumstance--the ride canbe exhilarating and joyous.

Reason Five: Being with the ocean is satisfying in itself.At home, I’m doing things most of the time. Yet at the oceanI can just sit and be with it for hours on end. I don’t haveto accomplish anything to feel the day is successful--success is simply being there. Absorbing the sights, sounds,smells, and feel of the ocean environment satisfies my innerdesires for accomplishment. Each day of life can bring thesame inner satisfaction--just by absorbing my surroundings.

Reason Six: The ocean supports a near endless variety oflife forms. No one form seems favored, none is chosen. Thereis no single way to succeed within the ocean’s depths. Lifeforms take different approaches to feeding and reproducing.And the ocean accepts them all. We tend to search for theone right way to succeed in our lives. Self proclaimedexperts tell us their way is favored, their way is right.But observing the ocean reminds me that any way that worksfor us is right--we’re all right.

Reason Seven: I feel connected in and around the ocean--notonly to other people, but also to all of nature. We removeour protective barriers, exposing more of who we are. Weshed our clothing and spread our bodies to the elements andeach other. Contrast the body posture of people at a beachwith those on a subway or city bus. On the bus, people turninward with shoulders hunched, eyes down or set upon somedistant place to avoid contact with others. Arms are foldedand legs are crossed. On a beach people turn outward, armsspread wide, legs wide apart, and eyes easily making contactwith other people.

Perhaps I’m closer to God at the ocean--or I’m paying moreattention there, being more open to her communications.

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Copywrite 2003, all rights reserved. Jerry Lopper is anauthor, personal coach, and consultant. His workshops,ebooks, articles, and coaching are available through where you can sign up forcomplimentary articles and coaching.