When you walk down the street and see a very attractive, dressed up lady walking by, and as she passes the smell of her perfume is so sweet and attractive – do you breathe it in or do you stop your inhale and hold you breath for a moment knowing that the smells of fresh air and everyday life are sweet enough?
When you see a delicious looking juicy burger, meal or sweets advertised on a billboard or in a shop window do you run to the window and salivate over it while wondering if you have enough cash to splurge? Or do you look away knowing that those adverts just mean to grab your attention and sell you something?
If you hear a lovely singing voice do you stop and think, “wow, that’s so amazing! They are so talented I wish I could sing like that.” Or do you appreciate it but know that your own voice is neither better nor worse same as the cat’s meow or cow’s moo.
I like to live a plain life. I avoid movies that are too emotional, scents that are too alluring, food that is too decadent and women that are too beautiful. The plain and simple truth of the hours passing in the day, the wind blowing by and the general careless persistence of life help to keep my space balanced. Things that are extreme, even if they are dolled up as something desirable, only excite your system and throw you off balance. I would rather not experience any massive highs but keep things moving along at their standard pace.
I intend to listen to the silence between the sounds of the world no matter how many other sounds are coming at me.
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.
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?
Or another way to say it is do not go with things that are unnatural. Here is my interpretation at the present moment of what Taoism is about in one aspect.
Have you ever found yourself in a real psychological difficulty? I’m talking about depression, anger, obsession, all the bad things. It is not natural to be psychologically disturbed. My theory states that if you are obviously having a non-natural difficulty it is because the upsetting situation you got into came about not-naturally. Therefore, only do what is natural.
If you’ve forced a situation to occur generally the results are not positive. They are hard to deal with and that is not natural. This happens because you forced the situation rather than letting a different situation naturally occur. If you find yourself having to deal with some really tough thoughts or patterns of thought then maybe try saying to yourself that this is not natural. You are having a not natural reaction to a situation that did not occur naturally. Both the situation and your reaction were not natural. Therefore, you have to let it go. It was not real. It was forced or contrived and simply not rooted in the only thing that has any power – nature or naturally occurring things.
Nothing in nature is trying to be something it isn’t. That is why nature works so well and is so astounding. Go with your own nature. Don’t try to be something you aren’t, don’t try to have something that doesn’t come on it’s own, don’t force anything.
I hope this sheds some light onto the formerly confusing (for me) phrase “go with the flow” or “go with your own nature.” In the future to avoid unnatural reactions (which are miserable and hard to break) you should only do what is natural. You have no power to create things that are not natural.