A Rushing River is The Ultimate Metaphor For a Wise Life « Pun Intended
Written by Bamboo Forest


Illustration by *Smudgeproof

There’s a reason why the sound of a river or a creek calms your soul. Even the sight of it calms you. It is because the river has come to teach us all one of the most powerful lessons on earth: No one’s words or thoughts can derail us from our goals.

No demon above nor below can stop you from attaining the heights you seek.

I’ve used the river metaphor before; in fact, some have called me ‘river man’ because of it. No, my name continues to be Bamboo Forest.

The river is a great teacher.

Round up every high school bully, every negative person who sincerely wants the worst for others and have them congregate around the river. Then, have them look downward into its clear moving water. As they look down they can see their faces looking back up at them. They begin chanting at the river with every fiber of their mind and spirit:

“You’re not good enough.” “You’ll never amount to anything; have you proven yourself before?” “You’re wasting your time, you’ll never make it.” “You’re an idiot for thinking you can.”

What other negative things might they be saying?

Yet, even while all of this profound negativity is being channeled toward the river, it continues to flow.

The river moves no matter what the atmosphere. If it’s raining, lightning or grey – it moves. The river channels all of its mind, body and spirit into the direction of its dreams.

When the river goes through a break up with its beloved – it doesn’t stop moving. It flows. It’s relentless. It’s wise.

Since the river is always flowing and moving – do you think it’s never in a bad mood? Wrong again – of course it gets in bad moods. It just moves in spite of them. It moves. It moves. It moves. The river also doesn’t take pleasure and often feels pain when others project their negative viewpoint on it. When this occurs, however, the trademark sound of babbling, rushing water continues, unimpeded.

It’s hard to believe, but the river worries sometimes too, just like you and me. Except you would never know by looking at it, as it never allows itself to become stagnant; it’s a rushing river my friend! It opts to run on the wisdom of its inner being and not be handicapped by some toxic emotion that would have it flow differently.

Also – the river blames no one. It takes full responsibility for its shortcomings in the past. It realized long ago that meditating on what it believes made it fail to live up to its potential has only led to its turning into musty canal water where slimy, green algae grows.

“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you . . . ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer.” [emphasis mine]

One thing you can be certain of about the river is that it never dwells on the past. Ever. Do you hear the sound of the water rushing over the rocks? Tell me… when you hear the babbling water, when are you hearing it; in the past or the future? Neither. It’s only possible to hear this precious sound in the now.

Since the river channels all of its mind, body and spirit into the present, it has no room to dwell on the past. The river understands by letting go of the past entirely, allows for its potential in the present to reach its absolute zenith. If the river was to dwell on the past, it would lack the energy to flow and create its beautiful music.

It should be mentioned that I was sitting by the river a few weeks ago and sparked a chat with it. I said, “Tell me, River, how do you do it?”

It responded:

“No matter what obstacle comes my way, be it mental, be it physical, I’m going to direct my flow in the direction I want it to go.”

We all can take away great wisdom from the river. It personifies the truth that moving while challenged is at the core of what wisdom really is.

Photo by jeffk

25 Responses to “A Rushing River is The Ultimate Metaphor For a Wise Life”
  1. Davina says:

    Hi Bamboo Forest. a very profound post. A river “never dwells on the past”. Amen! I love sitting by a river — actually, I prefer it to sitting by the ocean. I guess it is the movement and the sound of the rushing water that I appreciate. It has a tendency to calm the spirit.

  2. I loved this post!

    ““No matter what obstacle comes my way, be it mental, be it physical, I’m going to direct my flow in the direction I want it to go.” I guess another way to put it would be that the river can teach us resilience.

  3. @ Davina: Thank you. If the river did dwell on the past it would turn into a canal. And well, rivers are better : D

    Rivers are wonderful to sit by.

    @ Vered: Glad you found it of value. Good point. “Resilience” would certainly be the word. Perhaps the finest attribute one can have.

  4. Tracy says:

    “It personifies the truth that moving while challenged is at the core of what wisdom really is.”

    Beautiful!

  5. You quantum physicists, you! Who knew? Bet you guys are big fans of ”
    What the *&$%#” too. Nice job.

  6. @ Tracy: Thanks.

    @ Lawyer Mom: Quantum physicists? Doubtful 🙂 I’ve heard of that movie you speak of… but never seen it. Perhaps I should have a look at it.

  7. Ryan says:

    Spoken like a true wise man. I love sitting by rivers too. I like best how their constant movement is actually calming–seems counterintuitive. Sometimes the fact that people are constantly moving and overcoming despite life–that they are not willing to pause for life, that’s somehow calming.

  8. cathy says:

    Hi~ Mr.Bamboo Forest
    this is encouraging and touching
    I read it and love all images you made
    you must be a very wise man
    couldn’t wait for your new articles
    regards

  9. MoxieMom says:

    Bamboo Forest,
    Thank you for sharing. Where else do you write?
    MoxieMom

  10. @ Cathy: Thank you for the nice words. A very wise man? Not so sure. But that would certainly be nice 😀

    @ MoxieMom: Actually, I only write here. I’ve done some guest posts on other blogs though. Thanks for stopping by.

  11. @ Ryan: You write, “Sometimes the fact that people are constantly moving and overcoming despite life–that they are not willing to pause for life, that’s somehow calming.”

    That’s very insightful.

  12. Marelisa says:

    This is fabulous Bamboo. I especially like this: “No matter what obstacle comes my way, be it mental, be it physical, I’m going to direct my flow in the direction I want it to go.” It`s very true. The river doesn’t try to destroy obstacles, it simply flows around them. And in time, even the strongest rocks wear away do to the consistency and perseverence of the river.

  13. @ Marelisa: Thank you.

    You write: “The river doesn’t try to destroy obstacles, it simply flows around them.”

    And:

    “And in time, even the strongest rocks wear away due to the consistency and perseverance of the river.”

    Great insights.

  14. patti says:

    Hi Bamboo-
    This is a really awesome post!! A second reading brings even more appreciation of your amazing insight- Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  15. Hi Bamboo aka River Man –

    Like you, I love rivers, and the ocean too. They definitely can calm our soul. I agree, more people should make time to sit by a river and learn it’s lessons. I’m thinking there would be more peace in the world.

    I love the part where you said, “It opts to run on the wisdom of its inner being and not be handicapped by some toxic emotion that would have it flow differently.”

    The writer in you is showing in this post. Your words are beautiful. Thank you.

  16. This was great. Your idea that persistent, unwavering action toward a goal is most effective (and even calming, like Ryan mentioned) is certainly persuasive. Stumbled!

  17. @ Patti: I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    @ Barbara: Heh, Yes! I am also known as ‘River Man’!

    That is one of my favorite lines likewise. Thank you. I strive to write well.

    @ Sara: Glad you enjoyed it. Definitely, persistence is the most powerful force in the universe. Thanks.

  18. Ruchi says:

    Hi….Just awesome ….very thoughtful. I love to sit near river , especially at the time of sunset. The sounds really relax me and i can just with me that time 🙂

  19. BC Doan says:

    I like being near the water: river, lake, and ocean. It calms down my inner thoughts..Love this post, Bamboo!

  20. @ Ruchi: Thank you. At sunset, I can see it being particularly special.

    @ BC Doan: Yeah, water in general does seem to accomplish that, good point. And thanks for the good words.

  21. LoveBlug says:

    Is it just me, or do all of these commenters take this post way too seriously given the tone (and NAME) of this blog? I thought this was a HILARIOUS post, and it was pitch perfect for poking fun at the “enlightened” while masquerading as an enlightened post. Bullies making fun of the river, I love it! Hahaha, keep it up.

    Derek

    P.S. Livestrong was the downfall of NuHabits.

  22. Bamboo Forest says:

    @ Loveblug: Your assessment is hilarious. Made me laugh.

    While you’re right that the tone of this blog is pretty laid back and quirky, my intent for this post was actually for it to be inspirational. Though I like your take on it! LOL

  23. S.Srinivasan says:

    Your profound thought are good ones, but your thoughts are in our vedas (Indian scriptures) . If you want to enjoy the literary work of our ancient rishis (Seers) you try to learn Sanskrit. If you master Sanskrit, you can really enjoy every slokas with admiration and I hope you will definitely appreciate their choice of words understanding of Mother Nature.

  24. Alma says:

    …. the 1000s of miles I’ve walked, the years I’ve searched and asked for the clarification(s) you’ve given here… But it is here with me now! Thank you, and thank you again.

  25. hello there,
    thanks for blogging this…i badly need inspiration now bec of the losses I’ve incurred lately. Im undergoing rough change and it’s good to know the wisdom of the river.

    I love these lines: “No matter what obstacle comes my way, be it mental, be it physical, I’m going to direct my flow in the direction I want it to go.”

    We all can take away great wisdom from the river. It personifies the truth that moving while challenged is at the core of what wisdom really is.
    xx
    leannelicious

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