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Expert GuidanceWaves and the Ocean

Waves and the Ocean

Our thoughts aren't separate from the mind any more than waves are separate from the ocean.

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When we're learning to meditate, it can be really helpful to have the idea of the mind stepping back and watching thoughts. But after some practice, we might start to wonder, well, can the mind that's watching the thoughts really be any different from the mind that's producing the thoughts? And that's a very good question. To answer it, we need to let go of some of the more familiar ways of looking at the mind, even this little guy. I think a really nice analogy is the difference between the waves in the ocean. So one day the waves might be no more than ripples on the surface, (water rippling) Another day, they might be huge, loud crashing waves. (waves crashing) But the waves are not separate from the ocean, they're still part of the same thing, even though they appear different for that moment in time. And they might be beautiful to look at, they might be terrifying to look at, but there's still part of the same ocean. Just like thoughts can seem pleasant or unpleasant to look at, but they're still part of the same mind. So there isn't our mind and our thoughts, a mind that thinks and another one that watches it think, we're simply different qualities of mind. Ultimately, there is only one mind....


TypeExpert Guidance
Duration1 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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