Reflecting on the Water Element

As many of you know, I’m fascinated with systems of meaning - sacred geometry, artistry, the miracle of nature, and the many rivers of discovering who we are and who we are together, and returning to what we deeply know as resonate truth. Recently I’ve been reflecting on the water element inspired by the research of Dr. Masaru Emoto in The Hidden Messages in Water. His findings reveal water formations influenced by thought. I especially relish looking at his photographs of ice crystals and find myself drawn to their visual symmetry and exquisite patterns, not to mention the manifesting power of mind, prayer, and healing.

Dancing with Attention

In some ways, the water crystals remind me of the mandalas that I’ve enjoyed coloring over the years. There’s no one spot where I’m supposed to start coloring. Rather, the mandala invites my mind and heart to begin wherever I want. Then, as I make my way around or into the mandala, the coloring process finishes itself. Color choices, the weight of the pen, the pressure of my hand against the paper, the margins of the lines, the quality of my heart and mind – all fuse together in a blissful expression, and often a surprising and healing release. I marvel at the fluidity of this process - its interdependence and cohesion. The process has its own nature.

The same is true when I rest my attention on an ice crystal. I find that I drop preoccupation of where to focus. I may notice the faint trace of a hexagonal prism at first. But by now it has morphed into some other symmetric shape suggesting a star, a diamond, or a beautiful fern. I then imagine the crystal melting or morphing into some other hybrid of water molecules. This process has its own amazing nature.

Our mind works the same way - it constantly dances, inviting us to look closely at its delicate patterns, movement, and impermanence. As we stay present without effort, we naturally begin to soften, open, and let go of analysis and perfection. We are invited to be amazed! As we surrender to the nature of fluidity, we begin to experience and appreciate water's innate grace and generosity. As humans, we are mostly water. My earth body would hardly hold together without the purifying and cohesive contours of water. The water element is what makes a cool glass of water feel at home - satisfying and nourishing. Water flows. My body knows how to take it in, absorb it, swim in it. The fire in my body knows how to keep it at the optimal temperature, and the wind knows how to suffuse it with oxygen. Isn't nature awesome?

Water Prayers

When l look beyond my favorite photographs of ice crystals, mandalas, and my own body, I see an earth body out of balance with the purifying and healing properties of water - Care that sustains the natural flow of life. We don't need to look far to see and directly experience a dying democracy, racial hatred and misogyny, planetary destruction, crumbling infrastructure, and a tsunami of overwhelm and hardship. In these moments, I practice allowing my rage and grief to swell like the ocean, I open to experiences of release, and rest in fleeting moments of ease. I pray remembering the water element as a force of nature. Water collects itself, crystalizes, coheres, flows into other instantiations of itself, becomes larger and merges. Under changing conditions, the water element is predictably unpredictable. Oceans are fed. Earth erodes. Entire canyons are carved out. Lives are lost. Babies are born. We can experience water as a scarce resource or an overwhelming flood. With deep appreciation and gratitude, I bow to the indestructible gravitas of water for its life-force. Given our times, I'm humbled by the generosity of water and I pray to water for racial healing and global wellbeing, and that the purity of water remain protected from human harm.

I bow to the healing nature of water crystals and mandalas that live within and inform me. I'm thankful that I can feel a blissful release of racial and global hardening when I surrender to the nature of water. At the same time, there must be a level of relative ease within my body to reflect this way. A body that feels disconnected, anxious, or traumatized needs a steady dose of mindful settling to soften then open to the refreshing and informative flow of water. That’s why I’m grateful for learning insight meditation many decades ago. In this practice, you learn to sit with ease – many of us for the first time. You learn to recognize and embrace your rage, fear, perfection, depression, or ignorance often for the first time. You discern your identity as racial beings from an embracing and inclusive perspective. And you can more intimately discern your humanity and interdependence with others, perhaps for the first time.

Crystalizing Your Journey

Do conditions in your life feel supportive of such an inquiry? We'd like to help! You might start with our Beginner’s Guide for Meditating with Race, which is freely offered for a limited time on my course website. Importantly, like the water element, we naturally cohere with others of like minds. Perhaps you are ready to form a Racial Affinity (RA) group and go through our Brave Space course together, a 12-month intensive to uproot your racial conditioning. Through May 30th, you can receive a 25% discount on our Six Hindrances to Racial Harmony course. Or sign up for my newsletter so that you can get regular updates on all my offerings!

The Mindful of Race Institute supports mindful and honest inquiry into our racial conditioning, its impact, and our collective potential. And, when the time is ripe, we discover that we can gift each other with precious reflections, like this!

You know, they straightened out the Mississippi River in places to make room for houses and livable acreage. Occasionally the river floods the places. “Floods” is the word they use, but in fact it is not flooding; it is remembering. Remembering where is used to be. All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. ~ Toni Morrison

I look forward to supporting your flow and purifying your waters!

Meanwhile, Stay Weird and Remember to Vote in ways that nurture the Wellbeing of All! 

3 thoughts on “Reflecting on the Water Element”

  1. You never fail to provide the most easeful and thought/mind provoking writing as well as meditations.
    I bow in deep gratitude for your insights. I hope to one day be able to be in practice with you.

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