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Rock Stackers

It was another sun splashed day in Paradise as I walked the bumpy boardwalk from Spanish Bay to Asilomar State Beach. Waves were rolling rainbows off their backs and the sea was Mediterranean blue.

As I passed a couple of tourists, who were looking at the rocks people had stacked on the beach, I overheard the woman say, “They must be a bunch of peaceniks that do this. If they want peace, why not do something productive?”

I had to zip my tongue not to say, “They most definitely are. World peace will never happen from the outside in; not for all the New Year’s wishes and politically correct statements by beauty pageant contestants. It will happen when each of us learns how to find the peace that already resides within us. Stacking rocks is an excellent vehicle to get us there. It’s called ‘cairn’ and while it has been used for centuries to mark land, it is also a spiritual practice intended to bring the stacker into the present moment - the “now” where peace resides.”

I know this because when I’m taking walks and my monkey mind won’t shut up; I pick up rocks and feel into the way each one leans to balance it. It’s an excellent way to take my mind off worries and get me to focus on the present . . .

Shortly after my interlude I spotted two fire trucks - one with its ladder fully extended, a fireman atop it with binoculars trained on the sea – an ambulance, and a truck unloading a wave runner.

A crowd had gathered to watch the scene unfold: apparently, a surfer got conked on the head by his board, which he lost, and swam into shore. He was taken care of but rumor had it that another surfer was in trouble. So out went the wave runner charging up and over 12-15 foot waves, scouring the sea for bodies.

After awhile they returned, and word had it that there was no one else who needed assistance.

I asked myself, “Why would any sane person risk life and limb surfing such towering waves? Why do mountain climbers lose body parts and even their lives climbing Mt. Everest? Why does Sean Tucker fly death defying stunts in his screamin’ orange Oracle bi-plane?

Well, when I interviewed him, he had an answer: because it places you precisely in the moment. And in the present moment there is peace, bliss and even ecstasy.

If each of us learned to access that place more often, through meditation, prayer, affirmation or daring feats, maybe we would have world peace . . .

 

 

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