ACCORDING TO HINDUISM, PANCHA MAHA BHOOTA IS THE VERY basis of all creation. They are composed of 5 basic elements which even make the human body: Water, Earth, Fire, Air, and Space.
In Chinese philosophy, there exist five elements: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal.
Water is sacred to all religions in the world. Christians perform Baptism, Hindus, pour water on a newborn child and Muslims consider ‘Zam Zam’ as its holy water.
There is something very special and truly about water. The way it works: it can heal, it can clean, it can flood, it can contaminate. In short, water can give life or take life. Do you know what is the first thing that astronauts look for when they go in space- they look for water as a sign of life?
No wonder, almost 70 % of the human body is water, and so is 70% of the earth’s surface.
The more you understand and study water, the more it will fascinate you. You’ll realize that there are many lessons you can learn. Here are some profound life lessons you can learn from water.
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Be Like Water: Patient and Persistence.
Water never resists, it just flows. If it wants it can oppose any obstacles and go where it wants to go. Nothing can teach us patience than water. Drop by drop over time a tiny trickle of water can wear or dissolve even the hardest stone that cannot be broken with a hammer.
In the Chinese language, there is an idiom for this phenomenon 水滴石穿 called ‘shui di shi chuan.’ Life uses this miraculous instance in nature to teach us about life.
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Just imagine water which comes across so soft and loving is able to cut through the hard surface of rocks, not by force but by its virtue of patience and persistence.
How we should approach hurdles, problems, challenges, hindrances, roadblocks, and crises in our own life. These are nothing but the rock of life.
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What do you do?
Use the flow of patience and persistence to wear and break them down. Remember who you are. You are 70% water. If you can’t go through a hurdle or an obstacle in life then go around it as water does. Then you can easily carve and sculpt your life.
Be Like water: Soft but Strong.
Never, be fooled by outward appearances. Water appears to be adaptable, soft, loving, quite feminine. On the other hand, the rock appears to be very strong, hard, and masculine. So, water appears to be weak and rock to be strong.
But finally, it’s the water that wins over the rock, break, and crumbles it into the sand. The rock then gets merged into the sea and disappears completely. The water appears to be surrendering but ultimately conquers and the rock though appearing conquering finally surrenders.
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A great example of soft and weak winning over hard and strong.
Be Like Water: Adaptable.
Water is formless and shapeless. It takes the shape of the container it’s poured in. If you pour it into a bowl, it becomes the bowl itself. If you pour it into a cup, it becomes the cup itself. If you pour it into a bottle, it becomes the bottle itself.
Water never resists but quickly adapts to the new medium but without losing its own identity.
That’s the real beauty: water changes itself without losing its identity and compromising what it is at its core: water.
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Be yourself and stay true to who you are at your core, but still remain adaptable and flexible. One of the best skills we can have in life is the skill of adaptation. Have you seen a rock, it always tries to keep its shape and form? So, it just stays where it is! Be like water that changes its shape to keep flowing.
As humans, our natural inclination is to resist the new change or new path. Be like water fluid and formless and take on the form that life presents you with. Everything around keeps changing every second. See changes will happen, whether we like them or not.
So, learn to adapt, while maintaining your essence, just like water. Only when we adapt and adjust to change can we then begin to use the change to our advantage.
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Water, without a trace of ego, changes its form according to the need. Yes, egolessness is another trait of water.
Be Like Water: Egoless
The majority of human problems arise because of our Ego. Our ego tries to adjust and accommodate life to itself, but a person who has no ego accommodates himself to life. That moment transformation happens. Water teaches transformation. Water teaches egolessness.
Our ego is just like fire. Have you seen the flame of the fire; it always goes up? You may press hard to push it down, but it rises up instead. Just try this, hold a lamp upside down and see where the flame goes. The flame will go upwards only. To make the flame go downwards requires a lot of effort and force. It’s hard work and needs a great deal of labour.
Look at the water, it always flows down. This is a beautiful thing about water. It always moves towards the lowest ground, towards the depth, and flows down naturally. However, the amazing part is that contrary to fire, it takes a lot of effort and force to direct water upwards. You need to pump the water up to direct it up.
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. Be water, my friend.”
― Bruce Lee
Be Like Water: Solution-Oriented.
Many times, in life we find ourselves standing at the crossroad of a problem unable to find a solution. The solution is not visible to us. Just look at water- it may cut through, overflow, underflow, percolate or circumvent, but ultimately will find a way to its destination.
Just observe a river, stream, or rivulet and see how it makes a path for itself. Keep moving and keep going in life. Be steadfast like water that always finds a way.
One key aspect of problem-solving is the understanding of one’s locus of control. All aspects of life cannot be controlled, some are beyond our control. So always focus your time and energy on things you can control and for things that you cannot control learn from water.
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Waves can be very huge and powerful. Most of the time you cannot control them, no matter how hard you try. So, what’s the solution? Learn to surf them. Simple, isn’t it? Because while surfing you use the momentum and power of the waves to propel you forward. And when you do that the same waves which looked like a challenge in the beginning, actually become your greatest asset.
Be Like Water: Calm and clear.
Not always there are waves in the water. But sometimes there are small waves, sometimes there are big waves and sometimes there are subtle waves. The winds blowing will agitate the water depending on their direction and intensity.
Our minds too sometimes experience waves, and just like water, the winds of stress and tensions will churn the waves in our minds. But have you noticed water, when calm it becomes still, and all suspended and agitated particles slowly settle down and the water becomes crystal clear? But on the other hand, when water is stirred, the same particles get mixed with the water making it unclear.
In the same way, when our mind is stirred with the particles of anger, restlessness, or agitation, it gets clouded leading to chaos and confusion. But if you allow the mind to slow and calm down, the same thought particles settle down and clarity befalls.
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Be Like Water: Humble.
Have you ever seen an ocean? It is vast but amazingly it stays at a lower altitude always. And all the rivers, streams, and waterfalls automatically flow into it making it deeper and bigger.
Though water gives life to everything, it still remains grounded. Its humility gives water its real power. In life too no matter how high you go make sure you stay grounded. Just like an ocean, humility makes you approachable thus letting people look to you, and count on you.
Humility is a powerful positive force that keeps people connected to you leading to a better relationship in life and at work.
These are just some of the amazing life lessons you can learn by looking at the water.
Now, just stop, pause, think and reflect!
Aren’t these the very qualities that can make you happy and others happy?
As Bruce Lee said, “Become like water, my friend.”
Over to you now! What does water mean to you and what other lessons can you suggest?
Please connect by sharing your view and opinion in the comments section below!