• Resilient Practice

Kissing the Joy - The Power of Flow

"Whatever comes to you flows through you and on”

El Morya

Whatever situations we find ourselves in, there is truth in the Buddhist and Japanese Wabi Sabi teachings of Impermanence.

As Richard Powel translates “Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is “perfect.”

To know this can bring great comfort to us when we are suffering.

It also helps us to let go of the things that are not meant for us and to fully accept those that are, with gratitude.

It teaches us that, no matter how complete we feel our learning is and how evolved we think we are; this is a journey, and there is always more to come.

All that we have will eventually be given away and give way to something new.

Possessions, status, relationships, knowledge are all things that are subject to change.

To hold tight to something which brings us joy, can lead to stagnancy.

If we hold on to all that we have in the now, we cannot make way for the new things that are heading towards us.

This does not imply that we should let go of everything that is dear to us. It means that everything is subject to change and evolution, and we must allow that evolution to unfold.

This is flow.

Flow is needed for growth and progress and with flow comes change.

Again, when we are suffering, change is welcome, but when we are happy, we may move into resistance.

Holding on to those things that we most treasure comes from a place of fear and attachment. It distorts our relationships and leaves us bitter.

William Blake writes in his poem ‘Eternity:’

He who binds himself to a joy

Does the winged life destroy

He who kisses the joy as it flies

Lives in eternity’s sunrise

For us, this conjures up images of a beautiful butterfly seen out walking on a summer’s day. We want to preserve the image in our mind so that we can enjoy recalling it and sharing the experience with others, but we would never catch hold of the butterfly and keep it close, because it would be crushed and its beauty would be gone.

Throughout life we must appreciate the impermanence of both our pain and our joy and what each of them have to offer us in terms of the journey.

Viewing life as a journey implies that we are heading towards a destination.

The fact is that, even when we feel we have reached the evolutionary goals that we have set for ourselves and become ‘whole’ we will continue to grow and learn.

There is always more for us.

This is why we must pace ourselves and learn to reside in the now rather than race towards the illusion of completion.

This is the opposite to remaining stagnant.

This is entering the rapids where we are so focussed on the end goal that we cannot appreciate the lessons that the present has to offer us.

Rather than craving either stagnancy in happy times or rapid progress in times of growth, we must learn the art of going with the flow.

Try this:

As always, take your awareness to your breathing.

Appreciate its tidal quality

And the constant renewal of clean, refreshed air that you are supplied with

Slow, steady, and adaptable

This is flow

Allow the breath to slow and deepen just as you have done may times before

Recognise the feeling of calm that settles over you

Imagine that you are out for a walk

On a beautiful, summers day

There is a slight breeze

And summer is in full bloom

The air is warm

And the slight breeze carries to you

All the scents of nature

In the distance you can hear water

From far off there is a rushing sound

But much closer you hear the gentle babbling and splashing

Of a large stream

As you walk towards the sound

It comes into view

A sunlit stream where the water flows

At such a pace that it is neither a gushing torrent

Or a snaking green slick

Neither too fast

Or too slow

As you approach

The water seems to jump and dance in the sunlight

Reflecting every colour of the rainbow

You crouch down at the edge of the stream

And reach your hand into the water

It is surprisingly warm

And incredibly inviting

So you take of your shoes and socks

And step into the stream

The feeling of the water is so pleasant

And the water is deep enough for you to sit down

Before you know it

You are lying down in the clear iridescent water

Allowing it to flow through your hair and clothes

Refreshing every fibre of your being

As you lie there in the water

You watch the white fluffy clouds drift over head

Although you are completely still in the water

You feel that you too are drifting

With the gentle bob and flow of the water around you

Somewhere upstream is a stagnant pond

And downstream is a gushing torrent

But here the flow is steady and constant

New and pleasant water coming

And then leaving

Constantly renewing


But ever changing

As you lie in the water

You begin to visualise your joys

Your pain

Your successes

Your regrets

Your happiness

Your sadness

Everything that has come

And gone

And you appreciate the flow of the water all around you

Bringing the joys and the lessons

But always moving forward

Alleviating discomfort

Dissolving doubt

Melting away pain

Bringing creativity

New growth

And the constant renewal of all things

You allow yourself to be bathed in hope

And gratitude

You lie there for a while

Bathing in the flow of the water

As you leave the stream you are refreshed and renewed

Ready to face whatever comes your way

Gently bring yourself back to full awareness with a renewed sense of hope and positivity and remember, always to immerse yourself in life’s flow.

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