A new kind of meditation

I think one thing that helped me with this meditative swim is my lack of swimming experience. While former high school swimmers share their experiences and how swimming feels, I don’t have much input because I have never been in a situation in which I have thought about this. I’ve always been doing or thinking about things around me, like friends or what might be swimming below my feet, while being in the water. Because of this, taking things like what I heard or felt into consideration was new to me.

As I started my swim, I was unsure about a few things. I was thinking about how long I was going to swim, how tired I was going to become, and even what I was going to think about for this uncertain amount of time. I found a great difference between this type of swim and that of the swim that we did in class last week. After finding a comfortable speed, I noticed that this swim was much more enjoyable. Without fighting to correct techniques that I have become used to over the years or worrying about how hard I was working, my arms didn’t become fatigued as I thought they would. I was able to think about things other than if I was doing everything the right way. With this freedom of mind, I started to focus on what was going on around me.

One of the things that kept my attention was the rhythm of my breath and how it sounded with each stroke as bubbles drifted. Whether on purpose or by chance, each breath was exactly the same: the length, the sound, the pause as I came up for air. It was almost like the beat or rhythm of a song in itself. This thought stayed in my mind for most of the swim, and I realized that this is similar to what I focus on while running. I always seem to match my breath to the rhythm of a song without realizing it.

However much I tried to focus on thinking about things from the prompt for this blog post, I couldn’t keep my mind from wandering to other things around me. From the swimmers around me to the tiles on the bottom of the pool, I would catch myself frequently thinking about things unrelated to the swim. Although no theories or stories were forming inside my head, I can see what Tsui and Sacks were talking about with the mind wandering without the distractions that we usually have.

This particular swim gave me more of a peaceful, reflective feeling like that of Tsui’s description, but I can’t help but wonder if I would starting feeling the monotony Jackson talks about if I spent more time in the water.

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One Response to A new kind of meditation

  1. Hey Elizabeth. I enjoyed reading your blog post and find your perspective, as well as others who have not had as much as swimming experience as others in the class, very: important, interesting and exciting. It’s great reading your fresh thoughts as you explore the physiological and psychological effects of swimming. I also found your comparisons to running and swimming to be extremely on point. Since you seem more gravitated to running on the land, but still enjoyed this meditative swim I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the differences between swimming and running (besides being in the water) which are basically the same rhythmic activity, and how these activities may effect us differently psychologically instead of physiologically.

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