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How To Ride Life’s Challenges When Confronting Killer Waves

(and how to get kicked out of surf school)

Have you ever tried surfing?

How did you do?

The last time I tried surfing at Pacific Beach in San Diego, I was given 3 things by my surf instructor Kyle at the end of the lesson.

1) My car keys and wallet which the surf company had graciously guarded for me

2) the $120 I had paid for the class and

3) a certificate that said I could never come back to the surf school again.

I don’t get it – I’ve always thought it was the surf school’s fault. Twenty minutes after we get out in the ocean, I’m on my board trying to catch a wave. Before you know it, Kyle, the surfer dude, tries to blindside me and grabs the back of my board out of nowhere.

Genuinely frightened out of my wits when I saw his glimmering black and blue bodysuit in the ocean, I did what any rational human being attacked would have done – I yelled ‘shark’.

To keep a long story short, after the lifeguards, beach police and beach evacuation concluded, I took my money, wallet, pride and vowed never to surf again.

Waves can make life a b_____. (not beach)

Life in many ways can be a series of hard-hitting, unsuspecting waves of challenges, problems and worries. We could be swimming in the calm part of the ocean to be struck by waves that push us to places we didn’t want to go. Or waves that are unsuspecting, that bring heavy burdens and too fast for us to cope with. (Or waves that bring shark-like unsuspecting surf instructors near you)

Waves are scary, dangerous, unpredictable and with strong winds, try to wipe us out.

If life seems like a series of unpredictable and challenging waves, how do you ride the waves rippling through your life?


Failures, mistakes, bad luck, destruction, devastation, challenging life events continue to happen to us in the course of our lives. These are the things that we don’t have any control over – these wipe out waves may make you feel like you’re drowning or just not able to deal with life.

Calmness in the ocean floor.

An ocean is a fitting metaphor for life, isn’t it? Think about the depth of an ocean – it gives me a picture of calmness, serenity, peace and stability (minus the damn sharks of course). Fishes swim, plants flourish and there’s a sanctity about the depths of the ocean. It seems like nirvana can be found in the middle of the ocean – don’t you wish you could sit there and meditate (sure, in a scuba diving suit and oxygen tank) but even with all the scuba gear, it would be a divine experience.

Is your daily life like the depth of the ocean or like hard hitting waves on the shoreline?

How to deal with life’s challenges and struggles?

We can cope with life the same way we cope with waves. No, not yell ‘shark’ and get your money back. That’s how you deal with suspicious surfer dude instructors who attack you.

We have to accept that waves, big and small will come our way. We can’t control the size, frequency and dangerousness of the waves but we can control how we respond to the problems and challenges life washes over us. Life will happen to us like it or not – we have no control over that. We only can control how we respond to life.

We can chose to live life with the inner strength and calmness found in the middle of the ocean. We can use faith, awareness and understanding of the cosmic oceans to realize that even in the hard times, we can find inner peace and calmness. This takes work, patience and practice but can be done.

How do you deal with life’s problems? Scream ‘shark’, ride the wave or find the strength of the ocean floor?

~ Vishnu