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The Ebb and Flow of Life

By Charlie Badenhop

During my first year in Japan I took a hitchhiking trip and went to numerous fishing villages on the west coast of Japan.

In one village I had the privilege of meeting a very special man. He was in his sixties and walked with a noticeable limp. He told me that as a youth he was very involved in karate, but that at the age of twenty five he was injured while working on his father's fishing boat, and he had been limping ever since.

We sat out on a small wooden dock one night as he told me about his life. He said once he realized he would no longer be able to actively take part in karate, he made a firm commitment to use his life as a fisherman to further his martial arts studies. He read various martial arts books and then applied what he read to his work life.

"One of the most important things I have learned" he said, "Is to create a rhythm with your presence, movements, and breathing, that matches the rhythm of nature." "This is a phrase numerous martial arts masters wrote about in the books I have read."

As we sat by the water, he invited me to
"Notice the ebb and flow of the ocean.... and the sounds of the tide lapping against the pilings of the pier."
"You can sense the movement and sounds of the ocean... .
As you also notice your movements and breathing... .
And realize how you go IN... and OUT... of rhythm with this flow."

I began to do as he suggested, and I quickly felt I was being drawn into a parallel world, that I was somehow usually ignoring, or simply not noticing.

"Feel the life force of the ocean" he said, "and breathe with the ocean."
"Feel the life force of the ocean, and without doing anything, allow yourself to move with the ocean..."
"Breathe, move, and feel your heartbeat..."
"Invite your heartbeat to synchronize with the heartbeat of the ocean."

"Now you are becoming one with the water, and the fluid inside your body begins to become a tiny powerful ocean that ebbs and flows throughout your system."

"Now, like the ocean you can begin to feel the power of flowing without resisting. Flowing without fighting against."

"The water surrounds and moves past all obstacles. There is no forcing, and no need for strength.
"Only flow... . The power is IN the flow, and each drop of water is pliant and soft."
"No one drop of water is powerful on its own."

We sat there together for a while. The man, myself, and the ocean.
I felt the power and presence of the ocean, myself, and the fisherman.
Not separate, but together.
And I knew very clearly that all this power was really One.

The presence that resides in you..
The one tiny drop of water that you are.

* * *
The ebb and flow of your life mirrors the ebb and flow of all life.
When you calm yourself, slow down, and become one with your surroundings, you realize that nature offers you a parallel understanding of life. The tiny drop of water known as "me" is an integral part of the ocean of life, and your power manifests most gracefully when you join your individual spirit with the spirit of all creation.

Breathe deeply, calm yourself, and begin to notice and appreciate the ebb and flow of the world around you...
You will discover the power of the universe is the power that feeds your life.

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