A river seems solid at first glance. We all know it is not. Whether it’s a lake or an ocean there is not a single molecule that isn’t moving at all times. Our bodies are exactly the same, at first glance we seem solid, but there is not a single cell that isn’t constantly moving and changing, just like a river. Everything happening in the world, life, death, winter, summer, night, day, is constantly changing.
A river is always up and down, flowing with an intensity one minute, seemingly stagnant the next, but it always continues to flow. Similarly, the body constantly balances itself. It doesn’t need our help except for some basic maintenance and once we learn how to listen, it will continuously tell us what it’s true needs are. This is where I encourage you to create an alliance with your body. It is telling you in a voice that doesn’t use words. Heed them. Tired? Sleep! Hungry? Eat! Thirsty? Drink! Sad? Be sad but drop it! Let the river flow! Angry? Be angry but drop it! Let the river flow. Dis-ease happens when we are not yet skilled enough at letting the river flow.
With regards to personal peace, we try to hold onto gratifying things that come our way and push away things we have an aversion to. The fact is it’s all the same change, completely impersonal, constant, continuous change, change that is ultimately and primarily sponsored by the balance of nature. There is seldom anything we can do about it. Did you ever notice that when we exert force or try to control what’s happening, things tend to blow up in our face?
We can all do ourselves a favor and learn to practice equanimity. Equanimity is another word for letting the river flow. The river flows whether we love it or hate it. Trying to hold on (attraction) to someone or something is like swimming in a river, grabbing on to the rocks, trying to stop as the current pulls us down… we get all beat up. Pushing away something we don’t want (aversion) is like fighting the current, trying to swim upstream. We are trying to counter the natural flow of life. Our best bet is learning to stay in the middle, letting the current pull us where it will and flow (acceptance) with that which is immediately in front of us. This is equanimity.
Nature is a highly organized, brilliant system of balance that provides for itself and has for millions of years. It is providing for us in exactly the same way if we can just notice we are not separate from nature, surrender to this fact, get on and enjoy the ride or you can remain separate and suffer a lot if you so choose. It turns out resistance actually is futile. Non-acceptance is resistance. Spend your energy on acceptance of what appears to be good as well as bad.
When a big storm comes through, nature does not resist. The big storms pass. They bring blessings and destruction. Acceptance of what we term “bad” as well as what we term “good” is the key to happiness. Like have you ever notice when you look around at nature there is as much death as there is life, and death is an absolute requirement so life can continue? We don’t see anything wrong with nature and death is everywhere. So why do we have so much fear and resistance around death? Look at the soil, constantly, continuously the cycle of death and new life. We are not in any way separate from this perfect-precision built system, Nature. Eventually, we recognize that everything about ourselves is in that same continuous state of flux as nature and we can decide to be in surrender (acceptance) to this fact or not.
Whichever Higher Power we choose to surrender to, call it nature if this isn’t a spiritual thing to you, it is doing a fine job managing all of what truly needs to happen for us and always has. This is not always evident to us at first. We can’t always understand exactly what is happening that actually is in our best interest at the moment. Nearly always, in retrospect however, we can see what happened to us and recognize how, in the long run, it was indeed for the best, or at least inevitable. Eventually, when we have seen this enough we develop a new capacity; the capacity for applied faith in the nature of things in which we always play a part.
Are you ready to let the river flow?