Buy Terry A Beer

594. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Scuba diving is rife with life lessons. I learned to dive in Bali from an American ex-pat named Terry, a former surfer, drug runner, and underwater welder turned Buddhist. And, since I was the only person in the class, I had my own private life lesson delivered through the metaphor of diving. As Joyce would say, Terry was an old soul; he was comfortable anywhere in the world, above or below the water, in the west or the east; he’s one of the few people I’ve known who was truly at home in the world. I had to buy Terry a beer for every gaff I made on the way to ease in the water and I will go on record saying that there is not enough beer in the world to pay Terry what I owe him.

The primary skill for a diver to learn is neutral buoyancy. Regardless of depth, a diver wants to hover in the water, not sink or rise (unless he or she intends to change depth). Terry used to say, “Get neutral. Use the least amount of energy necessary. The skill is presence.” Re-reading that last sentence makes Terry sound old and wise and he was young and energetic, filled with crazy mischief and daring, so please insert your best brazen Hawaiian surfer gone rogue dialect into the previous sentence; my Yoda liked reggae and once said to me, “Let’s spin the ptomaine wheel!” as he strode into a smoky roadside eatery.

Neutral buoyancy is balance; it is the physical experience of perfect balance though you can’t achieve it without balancing your breathing as well, which balances your mind. When you become neutral, your breathing slows, you become efficient – and not the American puritan notion of efficient – as that implies work, sweat, hard pews and squeezing life out in a cubicle. This type of efficiency is the form that comes when you are most alive which means your mind is most quiet; there is no need to achieve or change or grow or do anything. Breathe, rest in balance, witness. No impulse to resist the present moment or to be elsewhere. In fact, when you relax into it, the colors suddenly heighten; there are amazing fish and creatures moving all around, and you can’t believe the shapes or the vibrancy of the world in which you find yourself. It is magic and you are magic (not separate from “it”). And, best of all, after a while it occurs to you that you don’t need to be underwater to practice being neutrally buoyant. It is a skill you can practice anytime, anywhere.

How much beer would you buy Terry to learn neutral buoyancy?

[to be continued]

4 Responses

  1. David,

    I read these almost every day and yet I don’t hit “reply” and thank you. I guess it’s that “celebrity” thing we get in our heads (or at least I get in mine).

    I’m simply writing to thank you for sharing your experiences with total strangers and for doing it so consistently. You’re a part of my morning routine that I would dearly miss.

    Godspeed, Tamela

    • Thank you for hitting “reply” this time. I love knowing that these moments that are so meaningful for me have become part of your routine. It’s nice to know (and I am far, far, far from being celebrity;-) Thank you!

  2. I am not stalking you…I want you to know I read this blog every morning as soon as I’ve got coffee in hand…and I want you to know I would rent Terry a loft in a brewery to have him introduce me to the buoyancy you are experiencing.

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