Kissing the Joy - The Power of Flow
"Whatever comes to you flows through you and on”
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.
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
But ever changing
As you lie in the water
You begin to visualise your joys
Everything that has come
And you appreciate the flow of the water all around you
Bringing the joys and the lessons
But always moving forward
Melting away pain
And the constant renewal of all things
You allow yourself to be bathed in hope
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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