Water is as close to “home” as we can get: Our blue planet is about 70 percent water, as are our bodies. “We spend the first nine months of our lives immersed in the watery environment of our mother’s womb, and human fetuses still have gill-slit structures in their early stages of development,” Wallace Nichols, marine biologist, reminds us in his bestselling book Blue Mind.
Whether it is gazing out at the sun dancing on its surface; bathing in its depths; listening to it gurgle, splash or roar; water soothes our souls, clears our heads, and leaves us replenished and at peace.
For the Taoists, however, water is more than just a means to relax—it is our greatest teacher in our search for sustained serenity, and contemplating or meditating on the qualities of water can help us tune into those qualities within us.
Have you ever seen water flowing around a large rock in a river? It does not retreat or resist, it simply finds another route, and slowly the rock slowly erodes. In this way, water teaches us to reconsider the perceived obstacles in our lives to see if we can continue to flow like water around them rather than pushing against them or retreating.
Water teaches us that to be healthy; we must keep moving, lest we become like a stagnant pond. It, therefore, inspires us not only to exercise but also to mentally and emotionally move on from our pasts.
Water does not seek high places, but instead travels downstream to the lowest places, or allows itself to fall from great heights. It is the most powerful giver of life and yet remains humble at all times which can be a lesson for us all.
Accepting What Is
Finally, water literally goes with the flow, allowing itself to be where it best serves—perhaps yesterday it was rain, today it is a river, and tomorrow an ocean. In this way contemplating water teaches us to accept whatever is arising and trust it is all for the best.
So take a seat, a deep breath and feel the water that you are today.