Water On Water

A small river bank on a sunny day

Water on Water, or How to Live Effortlessly

In the three-thousand-year-old Chinese classic Book of Changes, there are sixty four hexagrams that represent different life situations. The twenty-ninth of it, the Abysmal, is created by doubling the water trigram. You can call it “water on water”, if you wish. It represents running waters: rivers, streams, and currents and teaches us how to navigate difficult circumstances.

Legend has it that Confucius himself, who studied the Book of Changes extensively, instructed his students to meditate over the image of a hexagram if they desired to reach its deeper meaning. So, what comes to mind when thinking about the running waters?

Strangely, it is not danger that I envision but rather a promise. Running waters can wash away any difficulties that come my way: fears and tears and everything the like.

As the river flows downstream, it concerns itself not with past obstructions. Neither does it care about what awaits ahead, be it rapids or a jutting rock. It tells me how to live my life. Drop the shoulders and let go of past burdens. Stop anticipating the future and smile. Breathe out and in and live in the now. Don’t linger with past hurts, do not form expectations of the future, just flow. Or, be in the flow, to use the modern term of positive psychology.


P.S. Want to read the Book of Changes? Or even better – why not use it for daily inspiration? Brian Browne Walker’s translation renders the book in modern vernacular yet keeps its wise ancient spirit.

2 comments

  1. Olivia-Magali - Reply

    Water flows effortlessly. Not incombered by what came before or what may come next. There’s nothing more effortless than the breath. So simple.

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