Why Water is the Elixir of Life!
By Wallace Huey
Water is so commonplace that many give it little thought.
Of course if you gave a man who had just spent 3 days stranded in the desert a choice - water or champagne - he would in all likelihood choose water. Familiarity often leads to things being taken for granted.
Water's well known and scientifically proven status as one of the key essentials for life is well documented of course, but less well known is water as a potent symbol for Spiritual Truth. Water not only creates life - it also shows us how to live.
In our go-getter, hard nosed, often cut throat world, where hard work and graft are exalted, water points to a more gentle, benign, yet powerful approach. In the world we inhabit there is nothing softer than water. Yet it has unparalleled ability to overcome that which is hard. Remember those archetypal images, so often seen, of the Grand Canyon? Solid rock cut into incredible gorges by the power of water applied over time.
What inference can we draw from this for our own life? I invite you to reflect, next time you want to "force" something through, to hesitate and seek the path of least resistance and see what happens.
For example today I was contemplating holding the Meetup group I run here in Dublin in the City Centre. I went to the trouble of writing to a possible venue in town. I also phoned them up. But something didn't fit. It was all becoming hard work. I became aware that I was forcing this to happen.
Suddenly I saw the solution. Hold the meetings in the office complex where our company is based. True our office complex is on the edge of Dublin but it has everything we need, including a first rate tram route from the Center Centre, easy access just off the Freeway around the city and unlimited free parking. Nearly everyone holds Meetups in the City Centre. Like water, holding our Meetups in our own office complex was the path of least resistance, but at first I didn't see it!
And often, indeed nearly always, we do not see the obvious, the path water always takes, the path of least resistance.
So that is the first lesson I learn from water - hesitate whenever something feels forced and instead of powering through, look for another option, an easier way, a gentler and a simpler way.
The second learning I get from water is patience. Water just flows. It doesn't try to flow. And the rate at which it flows responds exactly to the terrain through which it moves. When the valley is steep, water speeds up. When the valley is shallow water slows down. So how does this translate to my own life.
At the moment the company is heading for a deadline six days away to launch our third module of training and our entire life coaching team. This is a significant challenge - to have all the infrastructure in place, tested and working to meet this deadline. Of course we are all on high alert, working intensely. This is our waterfall moment - the time when we all need to flow quickly. You may say, and this is a time of high stress, when tempers fly and anxiety builds.
But water shows us the example. When we stand beside a great waterfall, as I have done at Niagara, there is no sense of strain, rather a tremendous feeling of uplift and power. I am reminded of the story of a famous Tibetan monk, who was seen by one of his students running quickly across the courtyard. The student challenged the monk later that day. "You teach us to have inner peace, yet here you are dashing to get to your class!" the student said in consternation. The monk replied, "I can dash across the courtyard yet still be at peace!" was his insightful reply. Learning from the waterfall.
Patience means everything we do is appropriate to the occasion.
The third learning I get from water is flexibility - being flexible. When we were putting together our suite of workshops the presenters wanted to write their own scripts. Peter and I had written the scripts for the first few workshops and they were good scripts - we loved them. But the presenters said, "We have nothing against your scripts but we can't present your scripts as authentically our own. We need to be able to write our own scripts."
Now I have to tell you that taking up their suggestion meant a major upheaval in the way the entire curriculum of workshops were organized and created. It was such an upheaval that it took many months to sort out - and of course the presenters had to be paid a lot extra for writing the scripts as well as presenting them. But we agreed and went for it.
You see water is totally flexible. It simply goes with what needs to happen and takes up whatever form is required. Put it in a cup and it is cup shaped. Put it in a bath and it is bath shaped. So Peter and I, reluctantly at first, and not without some soul searching, completely redesigned and rescheduled the shooting of the entire curriculum and invested nearly twice as much, to accommodate the needs of our presenters. But it was worth it, because every workshop is unique and is presented in a completely authentic way, reflecting as it does the interests and understandings of its presenter - as well as Peter and my input because we still remained as contributors to the script ideas.
Water teaches that if we are adaptable, we can accommodate more people's needs and have a richer, more inclusive, higher quality outcome.
There you have it. Three Spiritual Truths I learned from water. Follow the Path of Least Resistance, have Patience and be Flexible.
So next time you are faced with what appears as an insurmountable barrier, remember water and the Grand Canyon, and ask the water angels to show you a softer, gentler, more patient and flexible approach and you will be well on your way to an ocean of abundance.
I would add, however, that this accommodating approach must always be accompanied by discernment. The easiest path ahead is not necessarily the right path for us; one must never betray one's ideals, nor compromise one's values, just because that would be the easiest thing to do. Our freedom, rights and integrity are very important to maintain. Sometimes we need to break through barriers to continue on our journey. If it is the right journey, for the benefit of all, then we do what we must do.
We live in a world of Earth, Air, Fire and Water - each have their place. With discernment and compassion we can pass along - as Buddha taught - the Middle Way. A creative life necessarily falls outside the box of conformity; at the same time we work alongside others and guard their interests equally as our own.
In 2000, after a profound spiritual awakening, Wallace wrote his book, Unfold Your Wings and Watch Life Take Off, a poetic manual that takes the hand of the reader and gently guides them toward a powerful realization of inner guidance.