July 11, 2019

Lao Zu, an ancient Chinese philosopher once stated thus: “the greatest good is to be like water.” This saying I have found most helpful in everyday life and in Zen practice.   We are almost completely composed of water, so why shouldn’t we be more like water?   When water is moving it is swift, life-giving, smooth, persevering, flexible, forceful, cleansing, etc.   To be like water in motion I try to envision being a narrow river continually winding its way to the wide ocean, carving deep valleys and canyons slowly but surely, flowing around impasses, and forcefully cutting through barriers, until it merges with the great blue sea.   When water is still it is calm, pure, clear, serene, etc.   To be like water in stillness I try to envision being a calm, pristine lake, with a mirror-like surface that reflects snow-capped mountains, swirling clouds, and autumn foliage.   Or if that’s too much imagining, I just think of being water in a glass cup.   So what kind of water will you be like today?   A stream? A geyser? A leaky faucet? A torrential rain? A boiling hot spring? Or maybe the great big ocean?   I met a young boy named Ocean recently. What a wonderful name! May we all be like the ocean, boundless and free, as he certainly seemed to be.