“Be Like Water”

Bruce Lee used to say, “Be like water. Water has form, and yet it has no form.”

He meant to be able to adapt like water, which will take the shape of anything in which it is placed.

In the Tao Te Ching it reads, “Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water, yet nothing can better overcome the hard and strong,”

Flowing water goes over or around the stones in its path. Eventually, it can erode the stones.

In the early days of my Buddhist practice, I was often told to have faith like flowing water. Faith in Buddhism is testing, understanding, and then practicing the teachings.

Flowing water means movement. It transforms the hard. When you are like flowing water, you adjust to obstacles. You can go around or over them. With patience, you can erode them.

So, to have faith like flowing water is to always to keep going and move in a forward direction. People rarely stop practicing because it doesn’t work. They quit because they run into obstacles they can’t seem to get past. Then they chase after something else thinking it may hold the answer, or they end up doing nothing at all.

Life requires faith like this. To be like water. There are times when flowing water meets turbulence, but after the rapids, there is a return to a calmer flow.

Sill water represents a tranquil mind. Peacefulness. The abandonment of attachments and desires – the whitewater in our lives.

Whether still or flowing, water is always adaptable and able to conform to the shape of anything it meets.

Again, the Tao Te Ching says,

The best of man is like water,
Which benefits all things, and does not contend with them,
Which flows in places that others disdain,
Where it is in harmony with the Way.

So the sage:
Lives within nature,
Thinks within the deep,
Gives within impartiality,
Speaks within trust,
Governs within order,
Crafts within ability,
Acts within opportunity.

He does not contend, and none contend against him.

Be like Water.


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