I love surfing, but catching waves is not what I am after. Yes, it is fun to ride down, but it's the same type of fun as zigzagging on a bicycle during my commute home. I think catching a wave is just a little bait for my brain to be where the waves crash.
I think immersive environments are universally therapeutical. I found this conclusion in the research about environments that are the most conducive to learning as explained in the Learning how to learn course 🔗. This is also why I think psychedelic therapies are effective. This is my own hypothesis and it comes mostly from reading How to change your mind 🔗. It is perhaps because immersive environments are taking one away from their default mode network. Away from being eternally stuck in our egotic, repetitive, distortion-producing selves.
Alex, who practically lives on Cocles beach in Costa Rica, was teaching me surfing. It feels like the ocean touched him. He seemed like one of the calmest, yet full-of-energy people I met. It’s hard to imagine a situation that could disturb him. Alex said that if he could, he would prescribe surfing to every criminal, sad, traumatized, addicted, and depressed. Hearing this from him and after a surf session felt so obviously true.
Being where the waves crush is maybe the most immersive environment I can think of. Sitting on an ocean, that with each cycle elevates one by the volumes of buildings, on this alien, collapsible form of matter, on a surface in a constant change. And then being tumbled by this soft, yet, when adding all the particles together, overwhelming force. Being where the waves crush simplifies and untangles my head. After 1.5 hours there I don’t care about any petty problems my hunter-gatherer’s brain was caught up with before.