What water does to our brains
The water, like any of the larger intangible un-holdable natural systems --like sky and weather, will teach you things that will take you forever to learn on land.
Water is essentially just fast land, but to some greater degree it stays loyal to this inherently natural notion that living beings have the right to owning the spaces that their bodies occupy and also have the right to a freedom of movement.
So, in this way water keeps these things in perspective: it requires a certain kind of participation--an embracing of its temporality. It does something special to the brain and you can use it to teach your brain things that words can’t always get at.
Imagine you are standing on the deck of a boat that is rocking. You are standing there and everything is moving. The deck is moving. The boat is moving and even the water itself is moving. All of it is moving together in unnameable directions.
You are standing on the deck of this thing that is being pinched between the water and the wind and to really lock into what is happening here you are required to give yourself over: your body has to become part of the boat. It has to do what the boat does, which is doing what the water is doing. Whether you mean to or not you totally and completely unify and become the movement.
I mean this quite literally. Have you ever had that feeling of rocking once you get off a boat, maybe in your bed on land later that night you feel this subtle imaginary swaying? That feeling is something that Scientists have been paying more attention to mostly because there are some people that go onto the water (specifically on cruise ships) and then when they return to land that rocking feeling just never ever goes away.... like for the rest of their lives. This syndrome is called ‘mal de debarquement’, in other words ‘illness of getting off the boat” or “getting off the boat in BAD way”. For some bizarre reason, it appears that the incidence is highest in women in their 40s. But, that may just be true because women in their 40s are more prone to going on cruises than people of other demographics? I don’t know!
The point is that water does something to our brains. It requires us to make models of the space and movement that is happening around us. These models are our way of anticipating reality and then we make a habit of responding to that reality--- like balancing on a rocking boat. Our brain habituates this practice of modeling the world around us as a world that is in constant motion-- a world that requires cellular participation. AND at least for me, the exercise gets burned into my brain. I carry this habit with me and it affects the way you start to behave on land too…