The Sanskrit Sutra quote, and incidentally, the name I gave to my small freedivers boat , “Ishvara Pranidhana” , can be absurdly simplified to, “I surrender all that I am to YOU”, whether that be that your god, the universe, or the elements you perceive to hold that immensity. I feel the sea, the water, the air….
In many forms of Yoga, Ishvara-Pranidhana is considered the “final” step, stage, practice, observance or niyama. … Compare the meditation and mindfulness exercises of Ishvara-Pranidhana with Zen. “Connecting to the Divine Within,” or attentiveness and surrender to the Divine within in Ishvara-Pranidhana, parallels the concept of connecting to the inner Buddha-Nature in Zen.
A phrase from a sacred tradition spiritual text may seem too far disconnected from life at the Blue Hole Bahamas BUT there is, in freediving, an overwhelming presence about that phrase to me, and it comes to me in every moment here around the noise and then the concentrated quiet of pre-competition training in progress.)
It’s about that point of surrender, for anyone of us who begin to explore what freediving can be all about, and it dives with me with every immersion, regardless of what that is. I dont doubt that finally the limitations that hold us back from truly realising what that surrender is, is not about the water nor the pressure that we claim holds us back, and even less about the athletes that we are or aren’t, but about something that runs far deeper within ourselves! The being unable to go there is often reflected as a varying current of excuses. The curious thing is, however, that each one of our intense moments in freediving, precisely at the “turning point”, is independent of depth but relative to what demons appear when we get there. Therefore, the thoughts I register during my breathe up and those that propel me or haunt me, at my turning point might have been stirred up from the same profound space as the 126m freediver who has just surfaced from a rapprochement with his shadow-side.
I also see that as we freedive, any dive, we are given an opportunity to unravel a further layer of ourselves, and overcome something different this time, perhaps, and when somene’s challenge is down as frighteningly close as 5m from the surface, and they are there locked into their silent debate perceived as discomfort, anxiety or fear, they are still right there at that same turning point, as we all are, clinging to a tenuous line of surrender, (or not), consciously feeling the vacuous exhilaration of “letting go”, or the amigdalic reflex; simply the need to flee.
If I could imagine the effect of falling into a Black Hole – the act of Surrender might just be that. Today we are in the Blue Hole, the Freedivers parallel, and the point of Surrender is so extreme, the silent debate of the best has obviously been equally a commitment to discipline and persistence as it is a point of personal Realisation!