“The river is everywhere.”
Nature lures us to seek truth. It has been done for countless ages. For as long as the human race has existed, we have looked to the natural world for meaning and for knowledge.
We’ve traveled by stars, navigated oceans by winds and currents, and in doing this we may also learn to navigate the impossible terrain of our own lives.
Just as we can see in the birth and death of the largest star, the same forces and elements that drive our own microscopic cells, we can witness our lives mirrored in the smallest of nature’s miracles. We can find answers and seek clarity.
This is the sphere of knowledge.
I often refer to natural symbolism when illustrating a perspective of life. What more perfect than a thing that is both large and small. What more perfect a metaphor than a river.
Just as we begin as a tiny cell, the river starts out as a drop of water.
Seeping and traveling down a hill it becomes a stream. That stream becomes full and deep, forming the headwaters of a river which bubble and roll, gathering speed and momentum.
Just as we are born and grow, our headwaters can be found in our youth. We are then propelled onward, into life.
As the river grows it becomes fuller and faster. It crashes against the rock and rolls through canyons. It learns and leaves its mark upon the land. Just as we do. It becomes full from rainwater. It floods and recedes. Its rapids grow quiet on a long stretch and it then becomes peaceful, settled and seemingly wise.
It flows steadily onward, carving its path through the landscape. It branches off, overflowing and forming tributaries, smaller but just as mighty flowing.
And we can witness the river do one last amazing thing.
At the end of its journey, it flows outward, emptying into the sea. Converging with other water, becoming larger than it ever could be on its own.
It travels home, as do we all.
In emptying itself, it becomes its fullest.
Recently I’ve learned to become more intimately aware of where my attention is focused. Without constantly worrying about getting to one place, or wanting something, I find, we may sit awhile and simply enjoy what we do have, and where we travel, here in this moment.
Life is too fleeting to worry over the impossible, over cravings, or to be consumed by time. In watching the river, time fades to oblivion. And it is here where I find the image of eternal peace that is abundant within all of life.
In life we travel many paths. We make many choices and we make many mistakes. Some of these we take with us. Others we discard as debris. Just as the river discards its own debris. We live so quickly, yet we move so slowly, just as the river.
In the end, we all travel home. We all empty ourselves into a greater firmament, one that beckons our return.
We can learn many things of the river. But the one thing we must remember above all is to enjoy the journey. You must only travel down a river a few miles to learn that bliss is alive and all around us. And in doing so, then you might realize you don’t need to be on a river to discover it.
We are creating this journey each and every second. Just as water is carving its path forward, we too are traveling ours.
Make it a good journey. Don’t fret with the destination.
Simply enjoy it.
Enjoy the ride.