Going against the basic instincts

Scuba diving

I am scared of water. In fact, my fear of water drove me to learn swimming in first place and still I can barely save my life if it comes to it. Even after learning swimming, I couldn’t let water anywhere above my nose or ears forget about over my head.

So when we went for Scuba Diving in Tarkarli, it was scary and thrilling at the same time. I knew that there is nothing to worry and we have oxygen supply and trainer and life savers if a situation arises, But all of these things sound reasonable when you are sitting in a living room. But when it comes to the actually doing it, your brain refuses all that logic and gives you warning signals. After all, it is only doing its duty (the brain). Survival and warning of dangers are some of the human’s basic instincts. So when it comes to overcoming those, the logical reasoning doesn’t work. Same goes for Bungee jumping, Skydiving, Hiking, Skiing, Ice skating and those scary rides in amusement parks. The brain is programmed to give us a warning when there is a risk to our lives. What makes these activities interesting is Can you use logic in such situation and convince the brain that it’s OK or just stop listening to brain altogether.

When I stepped into the water, I was scared to death. Breathing through mouth sounded easy enough on the surface. But when I went underwater for the first time, the weights tied to my waste started pulling me down and breathing through mouth seemed impossible. My trainer kept assuring me that there is a constant supply of oxygen for me, and he is there any moment if something goes wrong and there are others on the boat to jump into the water to save my life, nothing worked. So even after 10 minutes of patience from my trainer and heartfelt attempts from me, I was still on the surface. Apparently, I would get nervous as soon as the sounds around me stopped when I went underwater.

And then it happened. During one such attempt, I saw a bunch of beautiful fishes swim past me, those made me forget everything. Sometimes we want to be so much in control of everything that’s happening to us, that we forget ‘letting go of ourselves’. Ever tried floating on the surface of water without moving hands or legs? If yes then you know what I am talking about. If floating on water without moving anything sounds scary to you, try it with a float tied around your waste. It takes something to tempt you to let go, for me, those fishes did the trick. Suddenly I was OK to be dragged deeper by weights on my waist & it became natural to breathe through the mouth instead of the nose.

What followed was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. A different world altogether. Beautiful fishes, corals and most importantly serene silence. The silence which was making me nervous some time ago became a dear friend to me. It was worth overcoming all my fears and at the end of it, I didn’t want to return to the ‘normal’ life. I wanted it to last longer, much longer.

In our day to day life, we forget how it feels to be alive. We just go on from one day to another, running on a treadmill, at the end of which we are tired but haven’t moved an inch from where we started. This experience made me feel alive, appreciate life more, appreciate this beautiful world more and most importantly put me in touch with myself. Sometimes it takes going against basic instincts to have such experiences, be it taking a risk with life or career or relations. While doing it may make you nervous to break out of the control or disturb what seems to be settled, but at the end of it, you will be glad you took it.

And if going against basic instincts doesn’t work for you, then look for those beautiful fishes, which will make you forget everything else, and tempt you to do it.


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