A Meditation on Being in the Swell

Sometimes I stumble across words and writing so damn beautiful that I have to share them.

This is one of those shares.

The past few weeks have been moving at warp speed for me, and for many people that I know. Call it Jupiter in Leo. Call it The Quickening. Call it by any name that makes sense to you and gives it context.

There has been a swell of opportunities arising, and rugs being pulled out unexpectedly. Fast shifts in life at breakneck speed. Rapid, Exhilerating, Uncertain.

I came across this poem on Tara Brach's podcast during one of those particularly fast days during this particularly fast week, and I immediately felt the sensation of returning back to the grounded sensation of my body on the earth, and felt my vision shift towards embracing the unknown.

Uncertainty, after all, is the only certainty there is.




By Donald C. Babcock

...Originally published in The New Yorker: October 4th, 1947


Now we are ready to look at something pretty special.

It is a duck riding the ocean a hundred feet beyond the surf.
No, it isn’t a gull.
A gull always has a raucous touch about him.
This is some sort of duck, and he cuddles in the swells.
He isn’t cold, and he is thinking things over.
There is a big heaving in the Atlantic,
And he is part of it.
He looks a bit like a mandarin, or the Lord Buddha meditating under the Bo tree.
But he has hardly enough above the eyes to be a philosopher.
He has poise, however, which is what philosophers must have.
He can rest while the Atlantic heaves, because he rests in the Atlantic.
Probably he doesn’t know how large the ocean is.
And neither do you.
But he realizes it.
And what does he do, I ask you. He sits down in it.
He reposes in the immediate as if it were infinity—which it is.
That is religion, and the duck has it.
He has made himself a part of the boundless, by easing himself into it just where it
touches him.