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If life is like a river be like water

Mother Ganges , bless me with the ease and effortlessness with which you flow.

My most precious time in Rishikesh is sitting by the Ganges and watching the river flow. There is something very calming and cathartic (at the same time) about watching the water flow especially in form of mountain rivers as terrain is rocky , river is often not very deep but flow is fast and water is comparatively clean ( unless it’s the rainy season ).

That evening, I found a perfect spot for myself somewhere along the rocky banks of Ganges- it felt safe but close enough to watch the active flowing water, was little away from the crowded bank and noise and, i could see people at some distance but at that spot I was all by myself . The river looked beautiful from there. All I could hear was the sound of water flowing. Water has this beautiful quality of finding its way out around anything. I saw in the middle of the river there were some rocks challenging the flow of the river and how beautifully water was finding its way around the rocks flowing through the creeks and edges. Often in Ganges we see flowers/ cloth ( which are part of some prayers) and at times( sadly ) dirt ( which us humans throw) flowing in the river. But, water takes all of them along- it doesn’t judge between a prayer cloth or an ordinary plastic trash bag . As I was watching water flowing around these rocks / boulders, I also noticed that when ever any flower garland / cloth comes along with water, hits the rocks and couldn’t escape the high rocks, it would just be left there stuck somewhere in the rocks, but, water keeps flowing. Water didn’t stop. It didn’t stop for all that it was carrying along till that moment.

This view had me engrossed for more than an hour. I was quiet and simply observing. As it got dark I stood up, smiled and left.

The flowing river showed me with an example what is meant by detachment and letting go. I have had read before the lesson of “being in flow” but this experience gave me a deep sense of clarity and a kind of completion.

River doesn’t demand bed of roses – river flows even with rocks and boulders all along.

It doesn’t judge whom it carries – prayers or trash all are welcome.

And when time comes, it effortlessly drops what can’t be carried on.

I remember, by the end of that experience I had tears in my eyes. Perhaps it was the joy of receiving my lessons in form of experience, or may be while I was observing the phenomenon, I dropped some of the stuff I have been carrying which could not go further, or may be I realized my true nature is to flow even if it meant flowing through small creeks or changing my planned course. I didn’t try to find the reason as the sense of peace was above any reason.

Being in flow and letting go are two important lessons in yoga and in life.

Asna practice is also a beautiful balance between holding on and letting go. When we hold an asan there is an optimum engagement of muscles- not too loose not too tight, some muscles which are extremely tight slowly need to be relaxed , certain muscles which are weak slowly need to learn how to engage. In terms of breathing again certain habits need to be dropped so that breath can find its natural flow. In terms of mind – thoughts / judgements / plans / resistance ( in short ego) need to be dropped and commitment towards the journey inwards is to be nurtured.

Some people learn these lessons through hatha yoga practice, others may choose other paths. But lessons remain the same. All religions teach the same things , all spiritual disciplines meet ultimately just like different rivers ultimately meeting the ocean.

It’s been two years that I had this experience and still when ever I feel stuck /rigid in life, I remember the water flowing through the rocks. Something melts inside me and I flow.

~If life is like a river be like water~



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