The River

Look at a river.  Be amazed.  What is so fantastic about the river is how the water continually moves with great, constant and steady force in places and in other places the water is calm and still or even circulating back.  Even within a few yards or feet of one another these two velocities of the same body of water can be found.  It speaks to the power of water, the never ending effort of the water to move and flow towards it goal, across any object, despite any setback the water flows.  It will flow every second, even after you leave the river and stop observing, the river flows continually.

American-River-Threat

There are many metaphors in the behavior of a river yet they can all be likened to energy.  I like to observe a river and see these reflections.  First, I think about my thoughts and how they, for better or worse, are a constant stream that never tire like the river.  No point in trying to stop them or resist them or even engage them – they will do as the water and continually flow with indomitable commitment.  Second, I listen to the sound of the river and try to hear only that.  I allow the sound of the river to be the captain of my thoughts.  As if the sound is talking to me and this works well because the sound is constant and keeps my attention.  I can let any other mental chatter slide because the sound of the river doesn’t weaken.  It is interesting to see what other songs come into my mind during this exercise.  Third, I like to think of the rocks and paths beneath the river. That if the water was gone the area below would look walkable though it would have been shaped by the strength of the river.  And I’ll picture other walking paths in the woods as being submerged in water, covered by the river.  In this way I can begin to sense how the water interacts with other elements of the earth…wood, air, mountain, life,..and that water everywhere is connected.  It is like a blanket.

  • Try meditating near a river and staring off in the distance just above the water at dusk or night.  In some situations you can sense or even see the essence of the river floating along smoothly above the water’s surface.
  • Another good meditation tool is to stare at one area of the river where there is some turbulence and try to see all the ripples and white water that occurs in your field of vision simultaneously.  This is called looking at nothing but seeing everything.

When you leave the river and go back to your home, work or city don’t be fooled – the river is still there running with as much commitment as when you were observing it.  Even now, the bodies of water you’ve seen are still doing their thing.  Water is powerful because of it’s relentless drive.  If your zodiac sign is cancer, scorpio or pisces then your element is water.  Can you see any of yourself in the behaviors of the river?

Middle Yin and Middle Yang

“I can’t believe she did that to me!”  –  “I can believe that she did that me, it makes total sense”

“What a jerk!”  –  “I get it, I understand their behaviors”

“I need to forgive her”  –  “I’ll never forgive her”

“I hate myself”  –  “I don’t hate myself”

I don’t know.  What is bothering you?  Say it and then say the exact opposite.  Lakes and mountains.  Heaven and Earth.  Fire and Water.  Wood and Metal.  Yin and Yang.  Where are you leaning more towards one area?  As an exercise take that area and say the opposite like some of the examples above.  They are quite generic as only you can make it specific and useful.  The idea is to be middle yin or middle yang.  The more stable of the areas.  You see, in the I Ching you read hexagrams, which are 6 lines, really it’s two sets of 3 lines.  In each 3 line set you want to be the middle line.  The not exaggerated view point.  Try to see those situations that really drive you nuts from the exact opposites.   Look at this picture:

sinewave_as_generated.png

The exaggerated highs (full yang) and lows (full yin) are to be avoided.  So if you find yourself exaggerating some of your thoughts on a particular topic, like the experience of your last relationship, then try saying the exact opposite exaggeration with the goal of bringing your perspective more towards the straight line.  Middle yin and middle yang.

If your life can be represented by a string of a finite length then the more exaggerated the highs and lows are then the less your length it will be able to cover ie; a shorter life.  So the more you can keep your life steady and stable (it will never be a straight line as that doesn’t exist in nature) then the longer your life and health will be.