Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Flow Of Life

The 8th verse of the Tao Te Ching speaks of water and living in the flow of life. Let me quote a few sentences from Wayne Dyer's commentary.

Think about the mysterious magical nature of this liquid energy that so many of us take for granted. Try to squeeze it and it eludes us; relax our hands into it and we experience it readily. If it stays stationary, it becomes stagnant; If it is allowed to flow it will remain pure. It does not seek the high spots to be above it all, but settles for the lowest places. It gathers into rivers, lakes and streams; courses to the sea; and then evaporates to fall again as rain.

How many of us live our lives in such a flowing and fluid way? How many of us are in tune with the natural flow of life? Flowing with life and allowing it to take you where it will is not the same thing as passivity and resignation. For me, this is more about letting go. Even though I am generally a laid back and easy going person, I have a tendency to fight life and to resist its flow. I often want to make my own path. I don't think that is always bad but sometimes all you do is knock down everything in your path. We've all witnessed the gentle flow of a stream and a few have experienced the frightening destruction of a raging river that has overflowed its banks and wreaked havoc on everything in its path. If one has patience, the gentle stream can be just as powerful as a raging river. Given enough time water wins over rock and can smooth the roughest exterior.

I am generally a patient man. Few things, however, try my patience like bumper to bumper traffic during rush hour when its raining. Last night was one of these nights. Then, when you think everyone can go no slower, the traffic breaks free and suddenly you can accelerate to normal highway speeds. This is all a mystery to me because many times when the moment of acceleration finally appears, there is no obvious reason why the traffic was moving so slow!

When I got home I had a package on my doorstep. I could feel my excitement as the evening commute faded into my lost memories. The box contained some CD's I had ordered. I tore open the packaging with excitement. Inside were three complete Grateful Dead concerts from one of their favorite venues and peak performance years in their long 30 year career. It is no secret that I am a Dead Head. The Grateful Dead are my favorite band. I love their music and saw them many times. I once joked that if I died and went to heaven and there was no music there I would have to leave. If it's true that our heaven begins on earth, then it is music that often opens the door for me. Music of one kind or another has been my constant companion since I was a boy. It comforts me and fills me with joy. It energizes me and makes my soul dance. It makes me happy when I am sad and often turns my happiness into pure joy. It is a friend when I am lonely and a gift that constantly reminds me that life is a celebration not an endurance test. Some of you are wondering, "All that from a Grateful Dead concert"? Yes, sometimes, but it could just as well be Beethoven, Mozart, or some Gregorian Chant. It could be Muddy Waters or Miles Davis. Music makes glad the heart of man. (So does wine.)

Here's a few thoughts on writing by Henri Nouwen that I found encouraging in my daily struggles writing these daily thoughts.

Writing can be a true spiritual discipline. Writing can help us to concentrate, to get in touch with the deeper stirrings of our hearts, to clarify our minds, to process confusing emotions, to reflect on our experiences, to give artistic expression to what we are living, and to store significant events in our memories. Writing can also be good for others who might read what we write.Quite often a difficult, painful, or frustrating day can be "redeemed" by writing about it. By writing we can claim what we have lived and thus integrate it more fully into our journeys. Then writing can become lifesaving for us and sometimes for others too.Writing is not just jotting down ideas. Often we say: "I don't know what to write. I have no thoughts worth writing down." But much good writing emerges from the process of writing itself. As we simply sit down in front of a sheet of paper and start to express in words what is on our minds or in our hearts, new ideas emerge, ideas that can surprise us and lead us to inner places we hardly knew were there.One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see.

No comments: