Be like water

Using strong influences from the Tao Te Ching, I strive to ‘be like water’ and ‘take action through inaction’. It is a way of living which I feel has greatly helped me realise and accept my place in this world.

The Tao Te Ching is a series of verses written in ancient China. Exactly who wrote it is unknown, but it is believed to be Lao Tzu (or at least a group of wise people under the pseudonym of Lao Tzu).

The verses cover the topic of The Tao, which translates to simply The Way. They cover the way in which you can live a happy and fulfilling life. One guess, it doesn’t involve money or things. But I digress…

In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu suggests that to be like The Tao (at one with The Way), we must be like water. Water feels like nothing, can get into any space, and appears weak. However it is water that wears away mountains, washes away entire towns, and crushes us with shear power and pressure.

This is important to remember. Because water does not care whether it’s in a box, running down a mountain, or falling from the sky. It just is. It adapts. It goes with the flow.

Picture a river flowing down a hillside. When it encounters a massive obstacle in its path, what does it do? It sure as hell doesn’t say “Waahh! This is too hard, I’m going home!”. It persists until it finds a way around the obstacle.

Over time a number of things might happen;

  1. A new route will be found around the obstacle.
  2. The water will dam and either spill over the top or the pressure will break the dam.
  3. The water will evaporate and rain down somewhere else.

Out of all these scenarios, the water ends up the winner. In the end it still carries on doing its own thing. And the obstacle? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It had no victory and still remains vulnerable to the elements.

What does all this have to do with you? Be like water.

When you hit obstacles in your life, don’t sit and cry (ok, you can cry). Just don’t be static. Find a way around it, over it, through it. Just like water, be weak so that you can be strong.

I used to use the analogy of being like a mountain. Don’t be like that. Mountains are continually being chipped and worn away by wind, water, earthquakes, humans. They are static, they have no adaptable capabilities, they might appear strong, but really, they’re not.

Don’t be strong like a mountain, be fluid like water – the strongest element you can be.

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