Row, row, row your boat,gently down the stream….
It’s no accident this nursery rhyme – simple yet profound – evokes water. For millennia explorers have ever-sought their magical elixirs and Fountains of Youth; spas and resorts have grown up around thermal pools. As a metaphor, The River represents the Source, that primal force, energy, or condition that creates and nourishes life. Moses was cast adrift on the Nile; Christ baptized in the Jordan. The springs where water emerges from the earth, and the rivers that flow from them, have been considered sacred, the bearers of grace, vehicles and expressions of the divine energy or Spirit that pours forth to sustain the world.
To be on the shore or in the River is to come close to the Source. In India, pilgrims hike high into the Himalayas to seek out the headwaters of the Ganges. In the lowlands, people flock to Benares, the holy city that straddles its shore. There, multitudes bathe, drink its waters, give offerings, are baptized, or cremated and cast adrift on its currents, for symbolically, to be close to the Ganges is to be nearer to god. It’s a place of potential where the two worlds – the daily and the eternal – can mingle and meet.
Our first nine months were spent in a watery womb. Over eons, our blood was formed in ancient oceans, and the tug of the tide is still relentless. It pulls, pulses, promises, and somewhere we know that in losing oneself – one world and identity dissolved in the endless streaming – we may discover ourselves anew in a different dimension, a more fluid and interdependent reality. Our souls long to participate, get wet, and enter the water… to “slip beneath the still surface…” to cast the lines aside and drift gently down the stream.
We invite you to trust the Source, to cast off caution… to enter the water, be buoyed by hope, to savor the cold splash of awakening. Common wisdom says be safe; stay at home; curb your dreams; don’t make waves. But these are uncommon times, and the spirit sings for an uncommon life. A new dream is calling, encouraging us to release the ropes, let go the hold on consensus reality and the separate self.
Often drowned out by the noise of traffic and television, it bides its time and whispers. If we grow silent, we’ll hear it. “Enter the current, surrender and float… merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily…” There a greater myth and deeper dream is awaiting us.
If we’re fortunate, or wise, we’ll heed this call before the dam breaks.
[Picture above: Chama River]