I dangle my feet in the water as the sun shines down on my back. The boat floats gently in the water, up and down, back and forth. My husband and his brothers are all play-fighting around the boat, a civil war of sorts centered around the tube anchored to the back. My little sister climbs up next to me, giggles, winks, and leaps off the side to wrestle with her brothers. My mother- and- father-in-law are trying to signal to other boats on the lake; the propeller of our boat has fallen off.
Sunshine gleams on everything; the water sparkles, green and blue and shimmery. I marvel at the sheer content of my family; even with our boat immovable, we’re still having an inordinate amount of fun. My husband beckons to me on top of the tube, laughing at his victory of claiming it. Both of his brothers are unsuccessful at knocking him off. I stand up on the bow of the boat, prepare myself, and leap off—CANNONBALL.
And then—I’m under the water. I plunge downward. In that moment right before the plunge ends, right before my body rises back up, I open my eyes.
The world is alive. Sunshine breaks down in separate funnels through the water. Bubbles envelop me, rise around me. A fish swims by, deep below me, its color a muddy blue. This pause is everything.
And then I’m moving again, buoyed up by my own body. The crown of my head breaks the surface. I take a deep breath in, wipe my face, and look around, searching for my husband. He’s focused on making sure his two brothers and sister fail at gaining any ground on his victory. I start to swim over.
I feel completely in the moment; I feel my legs and arms moving with the water, my chest rising up and down with the waves, and my eyes finding all the details around me. Just for a moment, just for a second, this scene is perfection. That ever-elusive eighth and last limb of yoga, samadhi, is suddenly filling my body up with warmth and light. I feel connected to everything; my family, the lake, the sun, the hot breeze. And then, just as suddenly as it filled me up, samadhi is gone again. A boat is coming over to answer our happy pleas for help. I still feel warm and content, happy and safe, but that feeling of pure connection is gone. However, the memory of it remains.
Samadhi, for me, comes randomly, spontaneously, and only happens for an instant at a time. Does it ever come during actual meditation? Absolutely. But rarely. The times that it happens the most are the times I am with my family. The love and light emanating from them ultimately ends up overflowing inside of me.
There are, of course, times when propellers metaphorically fall off in my life that cause me to end up in places far, far away from samadhi. But sometimes, just sometimes, things that seem to go wrong in life can instead lead us to the best moments of our lives—and there’s no need for those moments to be huge or life-changing. Just content. Just warm. Just brightened. Notice in your life if your propeller has left you—and if you take the time between the fallen propeller and the new one to simply look at the world around you. To really see what life is like in the present. And maybe you will find samadhi too.