My friend Mark tells me he does not understand why I’m off for eighteen days of rafting in the Grand Canyon. “You could be in the mountains here,” he says.
How do I tell him or anyone that I do it because I am a student of water. Yes, that liquid that flows out of our taps which we too easily take for granted. This body I inhabit is largely composed of that very same flowing substance after all. And I’ve discovered that the honoring of this elemental identity is a great advantage in life.
I’ll see if I cannot be a bit more explicit upon my return in a few weeks. Meanwhile, I leave you in the capable hands of one who knows what it is to be at one in the world and to thrive through the turbulence.
“At the Gorge of Lü, the great waterfall plunges for thousands of feet, its spray visible for miles. In the churning waters below, no living creature can be seen.
One day, K’ung Fu-tse was standing at a distance from the pool’s edge, when he saw an old man being tossed about in the turbulent water. He called to his disciples, and together they ran to rescue the victim. But by the time they reached the water, the old man had climbed out onto the bank and was walking along, singing to himself.
K’ung Fu-tse hurried up to him. “You would have to be a ghost to survive that,” he said, “but you seem to be a man, instead. What secret power do you have?”
“Nothing special,” the old man replied. “I began to learn while very young, and grew up practicing it. Now I am certain of success. I go down with the water and come up with the water. I follow it and forget myself. I survive because I don’t struggle against the water’s superior power. That’s all.” — quoted in The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff, pg. 68-69