Freediving to me

The Sanskrit Sutra quote, “Ishvara Pranidhanadva” and incidentally, the name I gave to the small boat I use as my freediving platform, “Ishvara”, 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.

A phrase from a sacred tradition spiritual text may seem too far disconnected from the training profiles of a freediver, or, in fact, any athlete, or any person entertaining in initiating any new endeavour 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.

I chose the experience of freediving accentuated by a long-term practice of yoga and breath-work to be my preferred tools to help me to learn to feel the sea, the water, the air….and everything in fact that stirs within me at any one moment.

It’s about that point of surrender, for anyone of us who wants to begin to explore what any new territory is all about, and, in freediving, a sense of surrender dives with me with every immersion, regardless of where that is. The curious thing is, that each one of our intense moments in freediving, precisely at the “turning point”, is not as much dependent on depth but relative to the demons that appear when we get there. I don’t doubt that finally the limitations that hold us back from truly realising what that surrender is, are 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 but these psychological, emotional, physical and environmental excuses can be the very keys to our growth, to unlocking our deeper potential.

Curiously 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 every time. Perhaps even when someone’s challenge is down as frighteningly close as 4m 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. At that point clinging to a tenuous line whether to surrender or not, we all  feel quite consciously either the spacious exhilaration of what it might be like to “let go”, or that reflex stimulated deep in the brain’s amygdala, the need to flee. Wherever we are at that point both will be a choice motivated by the need to achieve a balance and the more we become aware the more right that action will become.

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 sea, the freediver`s parallel, and the point of Surrender is so extreme, the silent debate of the best is obviously equally a commitment to discipline and persistence as it is a point of personal realisation!