Sleeping with the Fishes/Meditating with the Crabs

Today, I went to the beach. The place where I live now has a large bay nearby, and there’s a secluded beach next to a series of creeks where many small snails, hermit crabs, horseshoe crabs, and blue crabs congregate this time of year. Later in the year, sea robins, moonjellys, and the dreaded red jellyfish, come to these areas.

But today the salt water was refreshing and I went to meditate in siddhasana pose in the high tide. I took extra care to not crush any snails or hermit crabs as I settled into the sand.

Noticing two small shrimps checking out my feet, I went to close my eyes to begin my in and out breaths in the water.

I felt something scurry over my hand. It was a small blue crab, no larger than a golf ball.

I left the water so fast, my heart racing. And then standing on the shore, I chuckled to myself.

It’s awe-instilling to think that the Buddha emphasized meditating in the secluded woods where there are cobras and tigers that can legitimately kill you — and that many monks have done so and attained the goal. But here I am, in a much mellower setting, where the worst I can encounter is a sting or uncomfortable pinch, and I positively leap.

Despite the absence of cobras and tigers in the United States, perhaps it’s possible to find those “secluded spots where your hair stands on end”. Just go to a secluded beach, sit in the water, and see if you can remain calm in the face of tiny unaligned sea critters.

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