Human beings have long held water to be a magical and life-giving substance. From the mythical fountain of youth to the waters of life, our history is full of stories about the magical qualities of water.
It’s no wonder our ancestors came to revere water so much. It’s essential to survival, which is difficult when clean drinking water is scarce. But it’s more than that. It’s more than just survival. Water nourishes us in so many more ways than simply hydrating our bodies.
The Universal Solvent that Washes Away Worry
Many times we find our greatest solace from water. There’s a reason so many relaxation and meditation aids include soothing ocean and rainfall sounds. It is universally relaxing to sit and listen to the flow of water.
Over time, it really does seem to wash away all worries. Water erodes, that’s what it does. It carved the grand canyon from the rock, and it reshapes the face of the Earth daily. It is the universal solvent. With enough time, water can break down any substance to its component parts.
Water is the Key ingredient to Life
Water is essential to life because water is life. Literally, an adult person is 60% water. A newborn is around 75% water. There are even some organisms that are 90% water! The oxygen that transports air to our lungs is 83% water, and 70% of the Earth itself is covered in water.
Even the driest desert on Earth, the Desierto De Atacama, is not completely dry. Water matters. It is one thing that all of us have in common with all life around us: we are made from water, and we need it to stay alive, flourish, and grow.
Water Buoys Our Spirits and Our Bodies
Just as we are soothed by water, we can also be uplifted and inspired by it. Many are the poems that relate women to the Sea, or men to the storm upon it. Taoists would tell us to learn to flow with life as water flows across the land. Perhaps they are right.
Water is an unstoppable force. It always finds a way to get where it is going, and it always follows the path of least resistance. But there is another side to water, and it offers us a warning.
Water Gives Life, and It Can Take it Away
We’ve all seen the intensely destructive force that water can be. Tsunamis destroy entire countries, and flood waters can sink entire continents. Water is a perfectly balanced force in that it is just as destructive as it is creative.
And, when we don’t respect that, we pay for it. When we seek to master an unmasterable thing, when we fail to recognize its power in light of our own, we become victim to the darker side of the water. In many ways, it is just like learning to be part of a team. You have to respect that which knows better than you, otherwise, you are going to learn a hard lesson from life.
Going with the Flow
Perhaps learning to go with the flow of life really is the greatest lesson water has to teach us, then. We cannot master something that is stronger than ourselves, but we can master ourselves. That is the only way to make peace with the uncertainty of life: to know who you are well enough to live effortlessly in your integrity.
That is what it means to go with the flow of life. It doesn’t mean that you know where you are going, or how you will get there. It means that you know who you are and, because of that, you are better prepared for the journey ahead.
You contain within you the same creative and destructive forces as water. Do you know yourself well enough to use them wisely?
About Elemental Edge Training
Founded by former Navy SEAL Bill Atkinson, Elemental Edge Training offers highly organized, fast-paced half, full and three day workshops that enhance your ability to lead, follow, communicate and participate as an individual and on a team. Lectures, discussions and practicals, and a rapid fire “Plan-brief-execute-debrief” format hammer home why you’re here and what you must change to improve your personal and professional life. We also teach you a Navy SEAL mindset approach that’s a game changer for you and your team and includes direct and immediate feedback, along with “report card” to take home round out the experience, give pause for reflection, and inspire further change.