Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Like Water

Water is the physical embodiment of softness and power, of generous equanimity and life force. It fascinates with its symbolism of nature, sometimes chaotic and destructive, but never small-minded and always true to itself. From ponds to oceans to weather, the cycles of nature are all reflected in the behaviour of water. Some even believe that water has a mysterious ability to store memory – that water is special, some water more special still. The Japanese have a phrase “mizu no kokoro” which means “mind like water”, though it is said to be impossible to translate exactly.

Mizu No Kokoro

It expresses calmness of heart and spirit, deep, collected, relaxed, the mind of pure awareness. Imagine the still waters of a pristine lake, surrounded by beauty, and reflecting the sky. 

It expresses proportionate reaction, expending neither more nor less energy than necessary, but just right, expressing its essence in equal measure. This is not a passive state, and it is important to stress this. It is an expression of harmony with what is. Imagine a pebble tossed into our lake, suddenly disturbing the calm, and the ripples that then spread across its surface, diminishing into the distance, before the calm returns again.

It expresses the flexibility of formlessness, adapting to circumstance, always ready to change to suit a new environment and forge fresh channels, to adapt and find one's own way. Remember that we are 70% water. Imagine yourself disappearing into that water, losing your solidity, spilling over and expanding into the landscape, flowing over and around any obstacles in your path. Then imagine the water coming back and centring in your solid body once again, and reflect on the feeling of what it was like to "be water". For that is how you came to be.

Acknowledgments: This is based on an article by Vincent Paul Cooper. The video clip is Debussy's tale of the water-spirit “Ondine”  performed by Khatia Buniatishvili (originally I had posted Rubinstein's 1964 performance but this is now taken down). The concluding clip is Bruce Lee. The photo was taken by me.

This was originally published on Buddhist Travellers in 2011.

No comments:

Post a Comment