“When I was young I would throw a rock into the water just to make a splash, now I am content to gaze into the calmness in order to gain some appreciation of what the reflection can show me.”
Stand at the edge of a dock or look out from the edge of a boat and you will see your reflection in the water. It will not be a perfect image, there are always distortions caused by waves or ripples, even on the calmest of water. Nevertheless, you will get a pretty good image of yourself and all that surrounds you.
Most of us are content with what we see on the surface, never bothering to question what may lie beneath. In fact, many of us are not interested in what the image in the water might have to show us. We buy the largest motors and boats we can afford in order to get from one side of the lake to the other as quickly as possible. In the process, we stir up the water so much we can see nothing in it at all. In our haste, we only see confusing flashes of light.
To see clearly, not only our own reflection but the reflection of our surroundings, we need tranquility. Calmness is not an easy skill to master, especially not in this age of ski boats. It requires bringing in the oars for a moment and seeking quietude. Ah, but what a picture can be seen if we remain silent and still. It is in such moments that we not only are able to see the world around us, we are able to get glimpses beneath the surface. For all we have known before is merely a reflection, a mirror image, an illusion. But if we stare, if we stay still, if we reflect, we leave ourselves open to glimpses of another reality, one that is deeper than any we have ever known. We have sensed it when diving into the water and feeling seaweed rub against our legs. We have sometimes felt the gentle nibbling or movement of small fish upon our skin, responded reflexively to the contact. But never before were we able to know what it was.
And once we train our eyes to see beyond the surface image we will always know, even at the most tempestuous of moments, that there is something deeper and more abiding than the surface turmoil.