The river

"Don't push the river. It runs by itself." (Zen proverb). There are days when quotes are sent to you or given to you by another and you don't realize you need to hear it until the words are ringing in your ears. This Zen proverb is a big one for me. It seems that one of the great lessons of my life is that I need to control what I can and let go of everything else. It's not easy to do. It's easy to want to control the waters and control the way your life is flowing. It's easy to think you can change direction today and start on that new path tomorrow. And yet, a river is not so easily changed. For all the rains that pour and the winds that blow, while the river may overflow at times and be near drought in others, the banks of the river do not shift so easily. Nor does the direction of our lives.

Each day we wake up in relatively the same way, in the same bed for years, in the same town for years, in the same house for years. There are days when our life just seems to stretch out before us, one day after another, each day with small changes but usually mostly the same. So what's to keep us pushing forward? What's to keep us waking up and working and doing today just as we did yesterday, just as we'll do tomorrow? I think it's hope. I think there's hope that, while we'll wake up in the same bed we'll sleeping in tonight, there is a chance that today our lives will be changed. There is a chance that there is a bend in the river that we cannot see until we are right up on it. There is a chance that our destiny and our true love and a greater light is just ahead of us- so far we cannot see it but so close we know it's coming. We can hear the change in the waters, we can feel a shift in the winds. We know that changes are coming but we cannot make them get here any faster.

So today, when we wake up, we should appreciate what we do have. We should give thanks that all is relatively the same, for similarity and familiarity allow us to grow more deeply inside. We should understanding that while many of our days will seem to be strangely, even disturbingly similar, there are changes happening deep below the surface. We should understand that while we prepare for the day, we never truly know what lies ahead. We should be prepared. We should not lose hope. We should let the river flow, and we with it, and life our lives running with the water.

After all, this is the life.