We are all familiar with the metaphor of water finding the easiest way downhill. It always seeks the lowest level, flowing naturally to find the fastest route to the sea. When it meets a boulder this means going around it, until through time it wears it away or undermines it until the boulder falls out of the way. It is the nature of our minds, however, to focus on boulders, to be concerned with the things that don’t work, that are hard or painful in our lives.
While some of the water in a stream continues wash against the boulder, most of it goes around, where the path is easier, clearing the pebbles and stones on either side. More importantly it maintains its own nature, the flow and play of being water. Where it all to pile up behind the boulder as behind a damn it would become angry and frustrated, or still and depressed. It would be unhealthy and untrue to its nature.
Perhaps its a stretch to think of the emotional tone of water, but emotional tone is important for human beings. The emotional tone we bring to things is a powerful piece of the end result as well as the process. Faced with “problems” we tend to be in turbulent or depressed emotional states. Some amount of this is natural and we can roll with it, but when the focus is constant and not balanced with flow and play, this emotional tone spills over into more and more of our lives.
It is common that some area of our lives is lacking in a quality that we would like to have there. It might be playfulness, at work or love in relationship. It might be a level of confidence, or self-ownership in some area of your life. If we focus on this lack we are like the water pounding on the boulder, we give it attention and loose sigh of the places in our lives where we do have this quality.
Most of us have what we are looking for, but discount it because its not where we want it. We are playful, but not at work. We are confident in one area, but not another. We can open to nature, but not to our partner. If you know how to play with a child or a pet, you know what it is to play. If you can open to a beautiful sunset in the mountains, or at the beach, you know openness and love. If you are confident in any area of your life, you know confidence.
There are areas of life and then there is the emotional state that we experience in those areas. What state are you in when you appreciate a beautiful flower? Bookmark that state, that feeling, and bring it with you into other places where appreciation is more of a challenge. Start where its easy and anchor that resource, then use it where it has been more of a challenge. This is like the water flowing around the boulder, until eventually the boulder also moves, or wears away.
The practical mind may say what is the point of smelling the flowers? The point is that you are in a certain state of happiness, appreciation or joy and if you are really present you can learn to take it with you; into your relationship, into your job, into all the other areas of life. What part of your life won’t flow better – be better – with happiness, appreciation and joy?
When you are wanting more of a positive quality in an area of your life, remember places where you have it already. Go there and cultivate it, practice it. Then return with it to the other places you need it. Let all your life have the tone of smelling a rose.