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From Sea We Come, 2014

Written by Felisa Tan,

25 November 2020

From Sea We Come (wo Signature) II.jpg

Amidst the vastness of space and time: Who are we? Where do we come from? What are we here for? There is something powerful about being in Nature, which brings us back to face the essential facts of life once more, which at their core are rooted in the profound mystery of our own identity.

Standing next to the sea long enough, we get to experience our own scale, our insignificance in the face of the grandeur of the Universe and its indifference towards our personal conditions. Yet strangely, this experience of insignificance is not that of diminishment, but that of peace and relief. Indeed, we feel Nature the most when we submit to it.


Solid rocks, seawater, and air; the phenomena of light, colour, and sound... What is Life, but an experience of the Senses? Whenever we are Present enough in any given situation, all our sensory nerves seem to come alive, yet our sense of Self dissolves. All the internal walls that make us feel strong and sturdy gradually thins into translucence, then transparency, before finally dispersing into nowhere but everywhere all at once. Isn’t it strange how we feel solid, and yet we are empty? Perhaps there is a great disparity between how we perceive reality and how it actually is.


The Present is where reality is, beyond concepts and ideas. It is a state of stillness, in which there is no story-making, just a pure experience of what is. The Present is where insight blooms, from a direct experience of reality. When our insight cuts through the elements, our hard-walled sense of solidity disintegrates and dissipates, and we begin to experience the foundational Unity of all things. The Present is the melting point of all that was and yet to come—the timeless. The past and future generations are with us in this very moment, the home of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Though our sentience has inherited aeons old thought patterns, which perceive the world in division of mental categories and labels, in this single moment of precise deep attention, all we feel is space and clarity. Beneath all this false sense of separation, we are composed of the same elements of Nature; and it is only when our sense of Self dissolves could we grasp perfectly the perfect Oneness of everything.


Natural rhythms are constantly at play, governing the laws of the multitude of worlds, which consist all the Truth we need to know; yet very few would notice, let alone make time to appreciate. Sometimes all we have to do is pause and let the enormity of what lies before us and stirs inside us untangle our sense of identity and diffuse the whole of our being. And for a split moment, with a profound connection to nothing and everything all at once, we transcend the boundaries of logic and concepts, allowing us to catch a glimpse of the Light at the ending. And amidst the subtle hues, gentle breeze, the blinding flare of the afternoon sun that catches our eyes, and in the sound of water; perhaps we could find what we have been searching for and longing to come back to.

*Sculpture on Left Panel: Once Removed (2014) by Robert Barnstone, Cottesloe, Australia

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