Diving can be a meditative process—just you, the sea, and the rhythm of your breath. It’s very easy to find yourself in such a state of mind. I’ve been exploring this further by reading Raja Yoga: A down-to-earth manual on spiritual consciousness with advanced meditations on purification, energy transmutation, and the five states of mind. This book delves deeper into the mysteries of a meditative state of mind, and the seemingly impossible tasks that can be achieved.
In particular, I hope to master the process called Elemental Transmutation. Transmutation is the changing of an object into another form. Elemental implies something’s primary or basic components. In this case, I am learning the art of breaking water down into its constituent parts: hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen bonds in water are strong, which is reflected by its relatively high boiling point. This means it takes quite a bit of energy, and thus focus, to mentally break these bonds.
Mastering this process enables would enable me to complete my transformation into an ocean-dwelling creature by giving me “gills”, so to speak. There are various monks and gurus who have achieved this feat, breathing underwater without a regulator. Through intense meditation, these amphibious men can take water into their mouths and transmute it into a breathable form.
The trick is not so much to be able to “just do it”, I have achieved this much. Rather, the true skill comes in attaining this meditative state with such ease that I am free to enjoy my dive and take pictures of any fish I see. You must also be so relaxed that you are not disrupted by boats passing overhead and drown.
When completing the process, the hydrogen and oxygen are not a problem, but other elements can be difficult. In particular chlorine, which when inhaled bleaches the cilia (tiny hairs) that line the lungs. Swallowing a high-quality hair conditioner pre- and post-dive alleviates this problem. For reasons like this, it is advised to have an experienced counsellor to guide you through the process.
You must be careful, for sea water is about 85% oxygen. To reduce the risk of oxygen toxicity, you should not practice Elemental Transmutation at pressures greater than 1.4 / 0.85 = 1.65 atm, or 6.4 m / 21 ft. Reducing the partial pressure of oxygen during transmutation is an even more advanced skill that is as difficult as it is dangerous.
There are various levels of accomplishment with Elemental Transmutation. As I said, I am comfortable performing this feat in a bath tub, but have yet to finish my Open Water certification. I hope to at least get up to a Rescue certification, that way I am comfortable helping others who accidentally choke while performing transmutation. For information about certification, please click here.
I hope to see you one day regulator-free under the sea.