The first time that a human saw a reflection of themselves was probably on the surface of still water.
Self-reflection is perhaps the most important element in conscious growth, it allows us to learn from our past, contemplate our present, and dream our future. Otherwise we can easily get stuck in patterns that have us mindlessly repeating the same mistakes and stumbling through life without awareness or vision for our greater purpose. As an organizer for the online events for World Water Day I woke up thinking I would be glued to the computer making posts and live-blogging all day, but a brief moment reflecting by a stream in my neighborhood compelled me to drop everything and visit one of my favorite local canyons. To my delight I was still able to come home and watch the video webcast from the Rishikesh, India! If you missed the webcast too, you can still see the whole ceremony here.
Water plays a major role in healing.’ -Larry Dossey, UPLIFT #LoveWater Webcast
While sitting by the creek, I asked my heart what would be the most fulfilling experience I could create for myself to honor water. Instantly I thought of the flowing springs that pour out of the cracks in a local red-rock canyon. My mind thought, “It’s like an hour drive with a dirt-road, you have work to do.” But the resolve in my heart was so powerful that I knew what I needed to do. I threw some food in a backpack, grabbed my water bottle and hit the road.
The desert is a place that loves water unlike anywhere else in the world. To wander into a giant crack in the earth (a canyon) and find flowers, grasses, swimming holes, and natural springs flowing out of canyon walls into exquisite lagoons with cat tails and water cress is a true experience in the beauty of contrast. To know that the canyon is being carved by water brings the awareness that water is a master artist sculpting solid stone into a visual delight.
While filling my water bottle up at a spring, I started to notice the places where the spring had poured out of the rock which are now dried up. I had never noticed this before and it inspired me to consider the invisible hands that shape our world that we may never notice. Reflecting on lessons I have recently been learning from love and relationships, I realized that love is similar to water. When love leaves, you may cry tears and release the pain or the person you love, but your soul has been reshaped by that love forever. Though some springs have dried, newer ones are flowing and neither is less beautiful than the other. There is a natural dance between the shaper and the shaped that can only be understood as a transcendental manifestation of divine love.
Water is my teacher. I learn from water about flexibility.’ -Satish Kumar, UPLIFT #LoveWater Webcast
I cried as I sat on the edge of a rock with my feet dangling in the water. The tears were not of sorrow or joy, but of gratitude. At that moment I was the spring and my tears fell into the water below like rain. I could have been at home working away in service to the wonderful global event, but it was my moment to unplug and be present with the wave of joyous energy rippling across the planet. There was a local #LoveWater event and I thought of everyone together sharing such magic, yet I was alone. I didn’t feel alone though. I felt surrounded by life. I felt my friends and relatives near and far knowing that we are all connected with our love for each other and this glorious planet.
The plants in the desert are the most efficient users of water, great teachers for us to learn from no matter what climate we live in. What does it mean to only take what you need? How can you take the least, give the most and still thrive in a desert? The desert can be metaphorical, we all experience it at times when we are straining to just make ends meet. I feel the daily stress of life building on my shoulders and in my neck, yet when I jump into the water I am invited to unwind. The water teaches me to move, to feel weightless, to be conscious of my breathing when I want to dive deep and explore the rocks beneath the surface.
In the old Norse mythology there is a story about a sacred well that was guarded by Mimir, a place that people went for wisdom. The phonetic root of “Mimir” is the same as “meme”, “memory”, “mirror”, “murmur”, “mimic” and the wisdom of the well is one that is gained through reflection.
Meditation is rooted in this same principle. Meditation invites us to quiet the mind until it is still like the surface of a lake. From this place of stillness, from the blank canvas, new things are born. This natural emergent phenomena is at the root of everything around us, and it is replicated through mirroring, or mimicking the patterns that surround us in nature and in our communities. Community is not limited to people, it includes the trees, the animals, the plants and all of these things depend on water to thrive.
After sitting with the water and exploring the canyon I was reminded on the deepest level about what this life is for me. To remember and connect to this inner knowing is the most potent way to navigate with strength our course in this world. It can’t come from a book, or anthers words, it can only come from within and it can only be known and felt through taking some time to be silent and reflect. Without a moments notice, my mind began to race again, “Oh crap, I need to get back to my computer, make facebook posts, respond to emails, get ready for the next Unify, UPLIFT campaign, Earth Day is coming!”
I stood up quickly but my legs had fallen asleep so I stood there and breathed as the pins and needle feeling slowly went away. This time and every time from now moving forward I will bring the wisdom water has shared with me into my office. Though I love my work and am endlessly inspired by the people I collaborate with and the magic that we are all creating in this time, I have a tendency to get carried away and forget to care for my own self. If we want to care for the water, we must start with ourselves and stay present to the vibrancy of a thriving life-force that asks us to balance play-time with work-time.
Upon arriving home I was elated to catch up on all the messages from friends. I went to this page where I could see all the #LoveWater photos that people had uploaded on social media from around the world. So many beautiful ceremonies and celebrations, so many inspired people doing great things out of love for our planet. It is hard to not feel hopeful and excited after reflecting on this growing global community of people who are dedicated to making a better world. Then I tuned in to the recorded version of the global webcast. I watched in awe knowing that we are truly seeing an emergent global culture of love and respect for life blossoming before our very eyes. We are the shapers and we are also being shaped together in a cosmic dance of creativity and evolution. We are water and together we make change. Collectively everything is possible!
Larry Dossey, MD shows us the power of prayer. From the movie the ‘Secret of Water’
WORDS BY JACOB DEVANEY