Yet, crossing we did… EVERY SINGLE TIME… We couldn’t help it… Those bunch of rebellious kids who wanted to experiment with the unknown. As soon as we got the hang of our tiny boat, we row and row away from the shore and out of sight right through the boughaz… it’s a whole new world out there, a magical feeling… In just a few seconds, you’re thrown into the wild and the Mediterranean shows its true face, its untamed and scary side… It’s much more alive than the boring smooth waters of the safe coastlines. Once we've tried it, we could never enjoy the tamed sea again… we had to cross the inlet… every time we’re out in the sea… and, it was our little secret.
Greek mythology teaches about the Symplegades – those Clashing Rocks in the midst of the sea that collided whenever a vessel would attempt to pass through. In the myth, we learn that they were conquered by Jason and the Argonauts who followed the advice of Phineus, the seer. Jason let a dove fly through the opening to check how fast they needed to go to make it through. The dove lost its tail’s feathers, but made it through, so did they as they row with all their might. They made it and the rocks stopped moving forever.
It is said that the myth is a symbol of the soul yearning to cross the barrier that separates the material worldly realm from the spirit, the Divine breath, the magical, yet dangerous territory of the heavenly dominion.
Not everyone can cross the Clashing Rocks, teach the Sufis… and not everyone is expected to even try. Many of us prefer the safety of the material physical world that we are familiar with. The world of senses, a world that we can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. The spirit is unknown and will forever remain so. No one can explain it… You can only get a glimpse for yourself… You only have a few seconds, to feel this connection, to throw yourself in the wild open sea… a few seconds that will forever change the way you experience reality.
As St. Theresa of Avila describes it, “the little butterfly who feels so estranged from the world begins to seek true refuge again. But where can the poor creature go? She can’t return to where she came from. No matter how hard we try, we are powerless to enter God’s abode until He is pleased to bring us there again Himself.”
Those rebellious kids at the Alexandrian coastlines could never enjoy the safety of the tamed sea again… the beauty and serenity, the peacefulness of the vast blue waters that meant the world to everyone, was but a boring illusion that held them from the true taste of the mysterious world – a world with no boundaries – the “true” Mediterranean – the True Sea, they yearned for.
40 years later, I’m wondering whether the beauty, safety, and comfort of my modern life became but a boring illusion… is my soul yearning to cross the boughaz, to pass the Clashing Rocks and connect with its True Sea?