One of the regulars who attends the weekly Hangout at the homeless shelter is a lovely sweet soul of a man who despite (and perhaps because of) his many challenges in life, never speaks
about his past, never passes judgment, and never speaks in anger or accusation. If anything, he's only ever curious about the "whys", often trying to understand the sometimes cruel behaviours and motivations of others (which I'm guessing, points to some of
his past and current challenges). He is always full of questions.
He likes to talk about the latest events in the news... the boys trapped in the cave in Thailand,
the construction and development plans for the shelter, the latest weather extremes. He also likes to listen to the videos/audios by Syd Banks. We listen for a bit, and we often stop and chat for a bit, and he shares both his questions and his thoughts. He
has had many of his own insights into the illusory and constantly changing nature of thought and life.
Since his mind sometimes goes in different directions than
mine, I can't always follow his flow of thought or make the logical connection from one expressed thought to the next. But I can eventually piece together some general idea of what he may be articulating. And every once in a while
he says something brilliant that I happen to catch, that allows me to see something in a new way. (I'm sure he says brilliant things all the time, but I'm just not brilliant enough in the moment to notice. )
The other day, while he was melted into the big comfy chair in the meditation/prayer/spiritual room in the shelter, he said,
"We're like water. I'm in this chair, and my body folds into it, to match the form of the chair. It's not like this when I stand up. I'm completely different. I'm rigid."
And I thought, wow, we really are like water. In every brief moment our body and our mind are continually adapting to our continually changing environment. We have these incomprehensibly complex and intelligent systems (physical/mental/spiritual) that
instantaneously and miraculously respond to the form of whatever life presents to us... mostly without any conscious awareness. We sit in the chair and our body naturally slumps in. We stand up and our body knows to hold itself rigid for lack of any physical
support. Someone asks us any question, we recognize it and respond. We put any kind of food into our mouths and our system works with whatever it is. We fall down the stairs and our body responds to minimize the impact and figure out what to do next.
We are amazingly and inherently adaptable.
I thought about how incredibly
helpful it would be for every human being to see the significance in this... to see how much we are like water, and to realize how much we can trust in that adaptability, no matter what is presented. Even for the untold number of unpredictable daily events/thoughts/feelings
for which we've made absolutely no plans or preventions whatsoever, we still have access to an intelligence that always presents us with something to do next.
much more grace would we experience in life if we happened to discover this, not just as a good idea, but as something foundational about the miraculous nature of life, as well as a compelling and profound direction to keep looking in?
This week, after a fall down the stairs, and observing my own creative system of thought navigating life on crutches and improvising with a variety of other makeshift tools and supports to
complete tasks and move around, I'm appreciating and marvelling at my human "like-water-ness". And, with many of these daily tasks and movements now occurring at glacial speed, I'm also finding some amusement in learning new lessons about the illusory nature
of time. I'm like water, but really really slow water. LOL!