In Yoga philosophy, as with all the great faiths, God could never be captured in words. But if you tried, you might say God is an intelligence akin to the Force in Star Wars or what Voltaire seems to have been getting at when he wrote that “God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.”
I know there are as many yogic philosophies as there are scientific theories. Samkhya, Vedanta, Tantra. There is probably now a yoga philosophy they sell exclusively online for just $99.99 with a limited edition organic recycled yoga mat. Humans love to brand and argue. But the truth of our original nature must be singular. And yogis would note that meditation, religion, service, science, philosophy, and those funny pretzel poses are all paths to God. But none of those paths or methods encapsulates God. And none is better than the others. The paths are simply fingers pointing at the moon, rafts across the ocean of suffering, different strokes for different folks. Or to use my favorite metaphor, the paths — like all things subject to birth and death — are waves.
God is the sea.
~ Jaimal Yogis, All Our Waves Are Water: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment and the Perfect Ride
As regular visitors to my blog know, I occasionally do book reviews for TLC Book Tours. The publisher sends me a free copy and in exchange I read and review the book. Usually I’m asked to review a specific book that seems to suit me or, more likely, fits in with the direction of my blog. This time around I was invited to choose from a list, and I couldn’t resist All Our Waves Are Water: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment and the Perfect Ride because, well, the sea! and surfing! and metaphors!! Oh my!! If you’ve been visiting me here at Ye Olde Blogge for a while, you know how much I love all things surfing and ocean and metaphors even though I have never surfed (beyond body and boogie board surfing, that is) and my own talent with writing metaphors is not particularly good (hence my great admiration for those who can come up with a good one!). I could spend hours watching people surf or reading something that wraps us up in a good metaphor, neither of which is here nor there when it comes to reviewing this book so I should move on.
To be honest, I am stalling because I am having a tough time writing up a review of this book. Even pulling quotes to help me along is difficult because the book is a story, a memoir, a journey, and it has a slight philosophical twist at the end that is delightful in how it ties things together. Pulling quotes out is like giving you a tiny glimpse of a tiny piece of a large puzzle. Out of context, it might not make sense.
I like this book. Very much. Jaimal Yogis’ writing in All Our Waves Are Water is almost conversation-like (“accessible” might be a fancier word for it), his story sprinkled with humor, philosophy, and some deep thoughts. I have not read any of Yogis’ other books, but will be remedying that. I’ve added Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to Find Zen on the Sea to my reading list.
In addition to being part of Jaimal Yogis’ life story, the book was, to me, a look at those moments when we encounter Other which some call God or Divine or Mystery and some think of as simply mindfulness or recognizing the miracle of life in the present. Whatever you wish to call those moments, they are those times when your heart and soul open and everything is Just Right. I’m pretty sure we’ve all had them. They might come while looking at a wondrous sunrise or sunset, a breathtaking view, a deep look into the eyes of someone you love, or even doing something as simple as gardening or washing the dishes. I think of them as All Is One moments when the connection between All and all of us becomes undeniably apparent. A moment of truth, perhaps.
Psychologists say blending into our surroundings is a feature of having thin boundaries versus thick ones. In decades of studies, thick-boundaried people see themselves as part of firm groups (“we do this; they do that”). They see the world as separated into good and evil. They don’t recall dreams well or feel unified with the diversity of the world.
Thin-boundaried people remember many, often wild, dreams. The borders between self and other fall away from time to time. It’s easier for them to feel empathy, but the thin-boundaried sometimes struggle to stay focused.
I’m on the thin side.
~ Jaimal Yogis
I will leave you with the official (publisher’s) info about the book. Thank you so much for stopping by today. Be good, be kind, be loving, and take a moment or two out of your day to pause and Just Be. 🙂
To view other (probably more coherent or more specific) reviews of this book on the TLC book tour, please visit this link.
• Hardcover: 272 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (July 4, 2017)
In this meditative memoir—a compelling fusion of Barbarian Days and the journals of Thomas Merton—the author of Saltwater Buddha reflects on his “failing toward enlightenment,” his continued search to find meaning and a greater understanding of the Divine in the world’s oceans as well as everyday life.
For Jaimal Yogis, the path to enlightenment is surfing. Between water and air, between control and surrender, between the tangible and intangible realities of life, the spiritual can be found. Born to a family of seekers, he left home at sixteen to surf in Hawaii and join a monastery—an adventure he chronicled in Saltwater Buddha. Now, in his early twenties, his heart is broken and he’s lost his way. Hitting the road again, he lands in a monastery in Dharamsala, where he meets Sonam, a displaced Tibetan.
To help his friend, Jaimal makes a cockamamie attempt to reunite him with his family in Tibet by way of America. Though he does not succeed, witnessing Sonam’s indomitable spirit in the face of failure offers Jaimal a deeper understanding of faith. When the two friends part, he cannot fathom the unlikely circumstances that will reunite them.
All Our Waves Are Water follows Jaimal’s trek from the Himalayas to Indonesia; to a Franciscan Friary in New York City to the dusty streets of Jerusalem; and finally to San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. Along his journey, Jaimal prays and surfs; mourning a lost love and seeking something that keeps eluding him, until he ultimately finds what he’s been looking for—that the perfect ride may well be the one we are on right now.
The poet Rumi wrote, “we are not a drop in the ocean. We are the ocean in a drop.” All Our Waves Are Water is Jaimal’s “attempt to understand the ocean in a drop, to find that one moon shining in the water everywhere”—to find the Divine that unites us all.
About Jaimal Yogis
Jaimal Yogis is an award-winning writer, outdoorsman, and frequent teacher. He is the author of the memoir Saltwater Buddha, which has been made into a feature documentary film, and The Fear Project: What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me About Survival, Success, Surfing, and Love. A graduate of
Columbia Journalism School, he has written for ESPN: The Magazine, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, San Francisco magazine, Surfer’s Journal, and many other publications.He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and their three sons.