The Water Way

Standing knee-deep
in this nameless wild stream,
aglow in the waning warmth of a settling sun,
I savor the baptismal rush of cool running water.
Looking up, I see a Great Blue Heron
noiselessly turning the bend in the river,
vanishing now like a scene from a dream.
Every place is my favorite place
along this mountain stream.
This way there are no ambiguities,
no sad regrets nor anxious anticipations.
Every place has its own flavor and fragrance,
its own unique blend of shadow and light
that can serve as worthy inspiration.
No place is better or worse than the next;
seeking for one and avoiding the other
is the source of all complications.
When I enter the stream I become it.
Becoming the stream, I forget it.
When we study ourselves, we’re studying water —
we are water beings, living in a water world,
born from and dependent on water.
Without any trace of discrimination,
water selflessly nourishes the thirsty realms
which are, in the interdependence of aquatics,
nothing but the drier extensions of itself.
Never trapped in duality’s snare —
water assumes any shape, functioning equally
in hot or cold, light or dark, movement and rest.
Water is always the song of itself, the same song
sung when we flow freely with life, as life itself –
natural and spontaneous — no longer inclined
to cling or resist, no longer fearful
of drowning.
Within the charades of unhappiness
lurks a shadow of a hope, hope
for some eventual happiness.
Such hope is like a blind fish
busy seeking for the sea.
Here, bathing in luminous Presence,
let’s finally relinquish our fascination
for that dreamy fiction called “tomorrow”
and choose instead to be happy right now
by discarding all of our reasons to not be.
Afloat on this ocean of living light,
there is nothing sacred in the depths
that beckons us with the compelling
lure of some deeper benediction.
Surface or depth, we are
the manifest grace of all moisture:
each a drop spilled from the liquid sky
to vanish at last in that sea of light,
the home of all falling water.
Then your will rinses up like the tide,
exhausting itself for one breathless moment
on shores beyond desire, only to wash back,
and then again, in a cycle that never ends,
until you come at last to recognize
the futility of all resistance.
Nobody controls anything.
Nobody holds onto anything.
This itself is a great relief:
giving up the war you’ve waged
with yourself, completely letting it go.
All of your reasons for resistance
will flail like beached fish upon the sand,
even to the moment of their last exhalation.
When the streaming mind called consciousness,
and the energetic body called the vital force,
retreat to the sea in one last wet breath,
what echo of self will remain to resist
that deeper drowning in the silent
ocean of awareness?
Washed up on land like a hapless fish,
you might believe yourself a victim.
Returned home to the sea at last,
know that you’re the rivers’ source,
and their welcoming destination.
There are no signposts here,
nor comforting consolations.
Perhaps that’s the way it was
meant to be, though any pretense
of meaning is merely another drop
of rain in a depthless ocean.
Tonight I wander,
whittled down to a vapor
of what I thought I was — a sigh,
a murmur in the midst of the enormity.
An old maplewood cane in hand
taps the dirt along this deserted path,
pacing footsteps coming from nowhere,
and leading to nowhere/anywhere.
Memories, doubts, hopes,
vague yearnings, pieces of dreams –
all skitter restlessly across the surface
of my pooling imagination.
I am water, weaving through
a water realm, unborn, undying,
twisting through the maritime depths
of itself, flowing through grand canyons
of heart-stopping vision, or pausing
in the murky stagnant backwaters
of abandoned hope and desire.
Could I ever conceive
of anything more precious
than this sublime simplicity?
This water is
transparency itself,
its own divine sufficiency,
a distillation of immensity,
tidal child of the oceanic mother,
never other than herself, at play in cloud,
dewdrop, brook, snowslush, river, puddle,
torrential deluge, lake, wave, or slipstream —
in every dream of deep sea rest and motion.
Over the wash of waterfall, I burst into billions
of individual drops of myself in thundering
roar, only to dissolve again into the flow
of my eternal unity, flowing water
of life, nourishing all the many
thirsty forms of myself —
all my own form.
Contained within me
are an infinity of water worlds,
as I within them, and still I ripple on,
my cane tapping out a signature on water,
water echoing back the pure mindlessness
of that which can never know itself,
but only simply be itself.
Even this mysterious presence at last
is submerged in the welcoming embrace
of itself, watery limbs reaching out to catch
the gentle rain of this liquid sky’s tears,
the tears which are the heart’s voice
of this silence I wander through
tonight, alone, at peace –
dreaming a dream
of water.

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