I don’t know whether I have shared the water story yet. After searching through my archives I have come to the conclusion that I have not and feel compelled to write it now.
It all began a couple of years ago as I was dealing with the latest “bombshell” from our daughter. I knew to the depths of my soul that I was in deep trouble internally, because I wanted to “shut down”, run away, not see or talk with anyone. Those are all danger signals for me.
I immediately alerted my support network and began what turned out to be two years of intense personal work. I firmly believe that God provides – always, even when we are not quite aware of it. In the month or so before the “bombshell”, I had heard about a couple of people who offered new-to-me alternative therapy, and I had put them in a file for future reference.
Well, now was the future, so I contacted them and made appointments. They have both helped me tremendously in my personal growth, but more importantly they gave me incredible support as I dealt with very difficult times. I also began working with an amazingly skilled and talented male massage therapist who was referred to me by a very trusted friend/female massage therapist. There’s nothing like male energy to “shake things up a bit”.
At the time, I was also involved in some special one-on-one work with one of my very dear friends. As I spent some time with her one morning she suddenly said, a propos of nothing that we were talking about in that particular moment, “Margo I read something this morning and I think you would like it.” She then proceeded to show me the 78th Verse of the Tao Te Ching written by Lao_tzu, as presented and commented on by Wayne Dyer in his book Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life, (which I then had to promptly go and buy!!).
I am going to write out the verse as it appears in the book:
Nothing in the world is softer
and weaker than water.
But for attacking the hard, the unyielding,
nothing can surpass it.
There is nothing like it.
The weak overcomes the strong;
the soft surpasses the hard.
In all the world, there is no one who does not know this,
but no one can master the practice
Therefore the master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow;
evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is the people’s greatest help.
True words appear paradoxical.
The ensuing chapter was titled “Living Like Water” and Wayne Dyer comments on the verse in the following way. “Be like water seems to be repeated throughout the Tao Te Ching. ……..Water is elusive until you cease grasping and let your hand relax and be one with it – ……… Overcome the unyielding parts of your life by yielding! ……. Remember to stay flexible, willing to lower yourself in humility and appear weak, but knowing that you are in harmony with the Tao. …….. When you stay soft and surpass the hard, you too will be indestructible. There’s nothing softer than water under heaven, and yet there’s nothing that can surpass it for overcoming the hard.”
I knew in that moment that this was a huge lesson that I needed to take to heart. I needed to practice being soft and flexible rather than being tough. I needed, just like water, “to find my own level below all strong things”. I needed, just like water, to return to my own Source (which for me is God) and allow Him to use me over and over in ways that He sees fit.
After reading this passage and processing my thoughts, I came to a great place of peace. Even though I was in the midst of great spiritual, emotional, mental, and consequently physical, turmoil I could feel God’s love and grace surround me and sustain me.
My husband was in San Diego at the time. Later that day he called me and I was able to share my “water experience” with him. As I was telling him the story, he suddenly said, “Oh my God, Oh my God!”. In somewhat of a panic and with my heart beating wildly I shouted down the phone, “What’s the matter? What’s happening?”
His response sent chills up and down my spine, and I get goose bumps all over again as I recount these events. He replied, “It’s OK, everything is OK. It’s just that a girl is walking past and her T-shirt logo says ‘Water is Life’. Needless to say I felt the hand of God right there. I felt His presence and I knew that no matter what, He would always be there for me.
In the last week or so I have been presented with some beautiful words of wisdom that span that sands of time and that I would like to share with you. The first piece is the oldest of all of them and was written by Lao-tzu 2,500 years ago. It comes from a translation of part of one of the eighty-one verses that form his book, titled Tao Te Ching.
Work without doing.
Taste the tasteless.
Magnify the small, increase the few.
Reward bitterness with care.
See simplicity in the complicated.
Achieve greatness in little things.”
Sometimes I need to remember that not taking action can be as important as, if not better than, taking action. Because I tend to be impulsive a lot of the time this is a lesson that I need to practice.
The opening words in this quotation also reminded me of another great person who lived in great simplicity but had an enormous impact on modern day history. Here is a memorable one-liner from Ghandi that I found tucked in my purse.
“No matter how insignificant what you do may seem, it is important that you do it.”
Another ancient philosopher, Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207-1273) wrote some of the most beautiful poetry that I have ever read. Most of it is quite mystical and, I think, very spiritual. Just a week ago a good friend passed me this piece of writing by Rumi.
“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?
Absorbed in this world, you’ve made it your burden. Rise above this world. There is another vision. All your life you’ve paid attention to your experiences, but never to your Self. Are you searching for your Soul?
Then come out of your prison. Leave the stream and join the river that flows into the Ocean. Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. It will not lead you to stray. Let the beauty you seek be what you do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. Question the scholars and philosophers, but God is beyond their understanding. Then look in your Heart and it was there where God dwells that you will see; God is nowhere else to be found.
Everything in the Universe is within you. There is a link between matter and Spirit. And your heart is looking for that path.
Consciousness is clear and pure like water.
And pure water is a perfect mirror for moonlight.”
Coming closer to today, a gentleman was at a meeting that I attended a short while ago. During a break he handed out small slips of paper to other attendees. Mine contained the following quotation from Mark Twain. I have been carrying it in my wallet so that I can take it out and read it frequently.
“Three daily reminders: Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Have the courage to do the right thing because it is right.”
I have to constantly remind myself to practice the first reminder!
The last words of wisdom for today were written by a modern day writer/philosopher, Paul Ferrini. I came across this quotation recently “by mistake” (in other words, by God-incidence). There is so much packed into this one sentence that I remain in awe every time I read it.
“The door to the Divine Presence opens when you no longer need to make reality fit your pictures of how it should be, when you can surrender everything you think you know and come to each moment empty of expectations.”
Wow!! Methinks I shall have to get some of Mr. Ferrini’s books. He has written over forty of them. I have never heard of him before but Larry Dossey says of him: “Paul Ferrini is a modern-day Kahlil Gibran – poet, mystic, visionary, teller of truth”. I am always ready to read new (to me!) authors who may open up new doors, new visions on my spiritual path.