Monday, April 13, 2009

The practical enlightenment

The practical enlightenment

There are a lot of stories and metaphors of life.
Here is one I like in particular for its practicality – life as a river.
Imagine life is a river and time is the flow of water.

First you are born.
Your soul, ego or mind, whatever you want to call it is put in this boat – that is your physical body – and we are pushed down the river.

As a child you don’t know much about what is going on.
You just enjoy the ride and if the river hits some rapids you just go - yahoo!
There are others – parents and teachers – that take care of the navigation.

But as you grow up they teach you that the river is dangerous and you have to stay out of the trouble waters.
So they teach you to control the boat and you start to paddle.

Then you become an adult and now you are on your own.
The problem is that many of us have no idea where we are going and so many of us end up paddling against the current and of course many of us don’t manage to stay out of the trouble waters.

Some of us though, get the idea and start taking advantage of life’s opportunities and manage to navigate the river.
But the river some times gets wild – like right now, when it seems we are going over a water fall and we don’t know where the bottom is.
But don’t worry after the waterfall there is a calm and safe pool – if you make it out of the fall alive.

Any way, you get a little bruised, a little wet but you keep on going.
You see, the river of time will carry you no matter what. There is no stopping until you hit the ocean!
Now on the river of life you meet other boats and exchange stories and maybe for a while you go down the river together.
Such is life.

Some people will tell you to stop fighting the current – which is a good advice always.
Some people will tell you to throw away your ores and be like a child, carried by the river of time.
Some people will tell you to study the river and learn how to navigate in harmony with the forces of the water.
Some people will tell you they will sell you the secret of navigation in exchange for your soul.

But no matter what you believe or what you do, one morning you wake up and you find yourself in the middle of the ocean.
You have made it, you will always will, because that is where the river ends.
So don’t worry, enjoy your ride.

Row, row, row your boat, merrily down the stream…


Aggie said...

That tune will stick in my head all night now. Lol! Merrily, Merrily .... perhaps life is but a dream after all.
We all hope that we don't hit the rapids and all fall out and drown.

C. Om said...

I love the analogy! It fits perfectly.

Going with the current and staying in the current moment are one and the same. :-)

Helene (the Artist Formerly Known as Kate) said...

'river of time will carry you no matter what. There is no stopping until you hit the ocean!' so true. I suppose its just about where we want to be deposited in that vast ocean that keeps us trying to navigating through life... (as if we really have any idea where we may end up... lol)

I have had the song Que Sera Sera in my head all morning... I am happy to sing row row row your boat for a bit!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Maybe we should try the internet equivalent of singing in time, so i start a line after you and so forth...nah!

I think Talk Talk were right - life's what you make it...or possibly Ronan Keating - life is a rollercoaster...

I guess the point i'm making is it don't matter what the metaphor - as you say: there's only so much control, so you might as well enjoy the turns when they come

Sylvie said...

Excellent metaphor, and it doesn't really matter which fork you think you choose, they all end up in the same place. You probably get some different scenery along the way, though.

"Some people will tell you they will sell you the secret of navigation in exchange for your soul."Funny :) They will tell you the secret of navigation, in exchange for your oars.

Buddha said...

@ Aggie – Life is impermanent for sure but its memories last forever.

@ C Om – I never thought of it that way, but it makes a lot of sense.

@ Helene – It is not the destination but the voyage that matters.

@ Pixie – You dread the turns until you start enjoying them :)

@ Sylvie – LOL! That is so true!

Talon said...

An apt metaphor for life. I wonder how many actually make it to the ocean?

Liara Covert said...

Going with the flow is a sensation that comes back to inner spirit like riding a bike. When you open yourself up to the mental tools you already have, they come rushing back.

molly said...

Love it, Buddha of Hollywood. Fabulous post.

Merrily Merrily Merrily Merrily lif is but a dream....

Someone really knew what they were talking about!

Ted Bagley said...

Pardon me, I'm feelin' frisky-

Maybe memories last forever for one who wants them to have life of their own?

Should I stay or should I go? Wait, they're the same? Come on, there is no current moment.

Oh yeah? Without a destination there is no voyage. Now what doesn't matter?

I get off on the hard stuff. It gives me something to fantasize about when the soft stuff comes along.

The salad fork is for salad and not cutting steak. But it fits my small hand better, though. Screw it, I'll just eat with my small hand.

Welcome back.

Mark said...

You have done a beautiful job with this analogy! yes, relax and enjoy the ride!

Diego said...

I loved this post! I know I have hit the rocks a few times and I still let myself hoot in the rapids. Merrily, merrily ... zen is what you think!

Buddha said...

@ Talon – We all make it to the ocean :)

@ Liara – Wow!
That is a very powerful thought.
I have to meditate about it.

@ Molly – You are too kind.
Thank you!

@ Ted – LOL!
I love it when you get frisky.
Nice to hear from you again!

@ Mark – some time I nail it, some times I miss it.
Such is life!
We just have to try our best :)

@ Diego – We all do!
It what makes life exciting.

Anitha said...

Beautiful pos filled with lots of wisdom. I feel, it is only during the rapid waterfall phases that we learn a lot about ourselves and people around us.

Brigit said...

The journey,not the destination. I love the river analogy. Then it depends on how you travel the journey. An adrenaline junkie will love the rapids and be prepared for them. Someone else will love the calm. Another will live in anticipation, another will enjoy the ride.

I'm an anticipation person. I don't tend to like surprises. I like to be prepared. Makes it difficult to just enjoy the ride. Although as I get older, I'm getting better at it. I even struggle less through the unexpected rapids.