The Joy of Surfing and the Danger of Flatlining

In physical life, there are many cycles or waves of activity. Some common macroscopic cycles include the following: life, breathing, sleep, eating, sex, exercise, and relationships. These cycles have a natural rhythm to them. Below, I have labeled some features of these cycles. You might want to use other labels. The point is that there are cycles or waves of repetition. This repetition is not exact. For example, each breath differs from all previous breaths.

Life: birth – growth – maturity – exit –
Breathing: inhaling – pause – exhaling – pause –
Sleep: waking up – being awake – going to sleep – sleeping –
Eating: hunger – eating – digestion – elimination –
Sex: desire – fulfillment – satisfaction – lack of desire –
Exercise: getting ready – physical activity – cooling down – resting –
Relationships: desire for company – interaction with others – desire for aloneness – aloneness –

There are countless other cycles in the human body, in nature, and in the earth. Each of the cycles listed above has physical, emotional, and mental aspects. The length of each cycle varies by person and situation. I want to emphasize that each part of these cycles or waves is meant to be enjoyed. A surfer knows that a motionless ocean provides no opportunity for change and adventure.

If we become attached to just one feature of any of these cycles, we prevent the flow of life and prevent our enjoyment of not only the other parts of the cycle but also the part of the cycle we are focused on. I call the attempt to turn waves into motionlessness “flatlining.” When we become attached to one part of a cycle, we inhibit the free flow of life. We are not living life at the speed of biology. When we attempt to make some part of physical life eternal, we ignore the true eternal life that is always available, and we also destroy the temporary physical life that we have become attached to.

Those who control the technology on earth are attempting “to make alterations in times and law” (Daniel 7:25, NASB). The problem is, if you inhibit the free flow of energy for a long enough time, the energy will build up until something breaks and the energy is released in an explosion. The spring will rebound at some point and the cycles on earth will wildly fluctuate until a new balance is reached.

Can you surf this coming tsunami, this physical, emotional, and mental tidal wave? You might be able to if you are not attached to any particular physical state and if you have faith in something that is truly eternal and stable. As Mick Jagger said: “We’re going out of control.” If we surrender control of our lives, go with the flow, and give up our fear of change, then we might survive the tidal wave. However, to become completely nonattached to the changing features of our physical life, we must become nonattached to physical life itself. If we cling to any particular mode of existence, we will be broken all at once and washed out to sea.