A mantra for making and living (originally published 10 April 2018)
This morning my partner and I were out walking - part of our plan to improve our health as our work is very sedentary in nature. The circle route we've been taking winds through our rural neighbourhood and brings us close to a series of little streams that wind their way across our island. I've always enjoyed the sound of running water outdoors, so even though the wind was blowing a gale this morning, I stopped to listen and look.
I commented to my partner how remarkable water is. It nourishes life, carves landscapes and takes so many forms. It is so very adaptable to the changing conditions in which it might find itself, yet always remains true to its nature.
No wonder the phrase "be like water" has such universal appeal. Some might think "oh, it's just about taking the easy way out." I disagree. It means being open to alternatives, some of which may require less energy than others. But water, applied consistently over time will carve through solid rock, so it's as much about perseverance as it is about going with the flow. The deciding factor in all things is which action enables you to be true to your nature.
Bruce Lee understood this. The slogan we are all familiar with "be like water" is an abbreviation of a longer quote attributed to the phenomenal martial artist:
" You must be shapeless, formless, like water, When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When yoou pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend."
There is power in understanding one's nature. It is at the heart of harmony and happiness, and it can foster appreciation and acceptance for others whose natures are different from our own. It is what living authentically is all about.
And "be like water" can be a mantra for each of us as we explore our respective natures, as we live, create, interact and grow in the ever changing landscape of our lives.