Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Swimming as Meditation

I took myself for a swim after work tonight.  It was the second time in about 10 days that I have been in the pool in our building for several months.  The pool had been closed for a good part of the spring while various repairs were being made (none of which I could identify tonight) and then it was summer, when the kids are out of school and can be found in the water at any time of the day or early evening.  Even though a refreshing swim would be lovely on a hot summer's evening, I tend to avoid the pool during that season.

You see, I prefer to have the pool all to myself if possible.

I like it best when it's just me and the quiet sound of the water lapping against the edge of the pool. Surprisingly enough, it's not that hard to arrange.  It's not guaranteed that my after work, early evening swims will be solo but when it does happen, it's bliss.

Last week, I had the pool to myself for the first ten minutes and then two women arrived and proceeded to have a very chatty swim, with more talk than movement.  That's the kind of thing that I find annoying.  I also don't like sharing the pool with anyone who is doing vigorous laps, the kind that kick up big waves in our small chunk of water.  Swimming with kids, whether or not they are there with their parents, nooooo thank you!

When it's just me, and all is calm and quiet, it's almost like meditation to me.  I can move as slow or as quickly as I'd like.  I can swim laps or tread water. I can do stretches and walk or run back and forth from side to side to kick up the aerobic factor.  I can exercise my body and soothe my mind after a busy and/or stressful day.  I can soak up the warm water until the tips of my fingers get all wrinkly.  I can imagine myself floating under a sunny or starry sky.  I can pretend I'm at the lake or swimming in the pool in the backyard of my imaginary dream home (one I'd like decorated by my friend, Jeanne Oliver - check out how she has her place done up for Christmas here. I love it!)

William Wilson wrote in the 1883 book, "The Swimming Instructor": "The experienced swimmer, when in the water, may be classed among the happiest of mortals in the happiest of moods, and in the most complete enjoyment of the happiest of exercises."  When I am enjoying the pleasure of swimming alone, I have no trouble believing this to be absolutely true.

No comments: