Water seeks flow: melt of snow and glacier; reach of ocean, over and over again caressing the shore; an insistent stream cutting rock, tending trees all the way downhill. The dream of water is to flow.
And from the flow, beauty: the shape of the land changed and charged; the color of water clear delight; the swirl of an eddy spins like stars moving across the face of eternity.
Above on the Trail of the Cedars at Glacier National Park. Photo by John Laux.
Learn More: If you want to work out the technical and analytical part of your brain, you could investigate hydrodynamics and the different types of fluid flow. I like the idea that fluid flow becomes so complex when it is turbulent that physicists haven’t been able to develop an elegant equation to describe its actions.
- How do I cultivate flow in my life right now? Where do I resist flow? How are the cultivation and resistance connected?
- What is my current relationship to turbulence? Where in my life have I tried to map it, control it, and/or flow with it? What serves me best? What is my desired relationship to turbulence?
- What beauty is created out of the current flow of my life?
Contemplative Practice: Use water as a point of concentration for meditation. Gaze with gentle attention into water. The water can be flowing in a stream or in a small bowl you hold in your hands. Just be with the water and see what arises. You might start with an intention to receive some kind of guidance from this session, allowing an inner voice to speak to you or an image to appear in the water or your mind’s eye. This is a form of scrying that has a long tradition as a divination process. The root of this old English word means “to reveal.”
Nature Awareness: Look for flow in your current environment. This will be easiest and most dramatic during the spring in areas where there has been snow, but even in the coldest or driest times, the hints of flow can be instructive and surprising. Observe your seeking of the flow. Observe the flow. Observe who else is interested in this flow (thirsty creatures?). For a long-term exercise, observe how a flow of water, say in a stream, changes in 1 specific spot over a year or over 5 years.