Be Like Water
“Be Like Water” is the mindfulness focus for the week. Water is a fluid, powerful shape-shifter. It is a finder of easiest paths and yet powerful enough to wear away mountains. Water gives life, connects everything on the planet, and without it our planet would be barren. So if we are working with water as a mindfulness focus, any one of those attributes could be a focus of concentration.
“Be Like Water”(1) could easily be a multi-week mindfulness practice by pulling apart all the different characteristics. But pulling the characteristics apart misses the point, since water is all of those things and more.
We might at first be drawn to the fluidity and flexibility of water, but we don’t want to forget that water is powerful. The Tao Te Ching reminds us of water’s strength: “There is nothing in the world more soft and weak than water, and yet for attacking things that are firm and strong there is nothing that can take precedence of it” (2); Anyone who has experienced a hurricane or a flood knows the power of water. But even in its gentler forms, water is strong and persistent and eventually wears away the stone. We can embrace all of those qualities.
Uniqueness of Water
We also want to be aware of how the uniqueness of water makes life possible on our planet. Unlike most substances, water shifts easily from solid, to liquid, to gas, making rain possible. Water also acts differently than most other substances in that its solid form (ice) is lighter than the liquid form(water). When a lake or river freezes, the ice forms at the top. If ice sank to the bottom it would freeze and kill all life forms there. Water is also an excellent solvent; other substances dissolve easily in water. This enables water to carry nutrients around the planet, and to all the cells of our body. It makes it possible for life to exist. (3)
This Week’s Goal
My goal for the week is to simply work with the mantra “Be Like Water” and pay attention. The work involves noticing water in all its forms, from creeks flowing, to morning dew, to oceans, and tap water, and to consciously embrace water’s attributes.
If you’d like to know more about my mindfulness focus word experiment click here.
(1) “Be Like Water” is originally attributed to Bruce Lee
(2) Verse 78, Tao Te Ching on Line, translated by J. Legge
Favorite Water Haunts