WHY DO WISE MEN LIKE WATER?
Maggie H is a Global Explorer and Wellness Guru from Hong Kong. Among many spiritual endeavors, Maggie practices and leads Qigong meditation to help people around the world find their inner balance. Find out more about this and other Eastern Philosophy & Meditation practices every Monday on the ICBRKR blog.
Confucius wrote in ‘The Analects’ (論語), “Wise men like water" (知者樂水).
Yesterday, I took two of my students to the beach at 4AM. Since the sun rises around 5:45AM these days, it was the perfect time to perform sunrise meditation. Chung Hom Kok beach is a lesser known beach located between Stanley Beach and Repulse Bay Beach at the south of Hong Kong. It was a 30-minute taxi ride from Central. We were the only people on the entire beach, due to the early hour.
We took our shoes off, sat on the comfortable sand and meditated until the sun came up. The sound of the periodic waves resonated in our ears, constantly moving right to left like a surround stereo system, and the cool breeze gently brushed our faces. The feeling of calm and tranquillity made the time flow by so quickly.
The traditional Buddhist practices employ sounds to reach a deep meditative state. It is a quick and easy way to do so. That's the reason many zen temples practice this type of method on the seaside. By the same token, when you are meditating at home, I suggest you to play your favorite sounds or music, and try to fully dive into the sounds. You will find this method very effective to attain a calm and peaceful mind. Additionally, it will help you practice for longer than usual.
After our meditation, we walked barefoot along the beach for a while. By then, an angler, a swimmer and a cleaner had appeared to make the early morning beach scene more vibrant.
Walking barefoot in a natural environment has many health benefits but as a Qi (bio-electricity) practitioner, I would like to emphasize the earthing effect. The process of earthing promotes physical well-being and helps dissipate static electricity from the body. When our body has too much static electricity in the system, we tend to feel like we are in a muddle with too many thoughts. Hence, walking barefoot helps clear your mind and focus on what really matters.
When I visited Australia for the first time, I was very surprised to observe quite a lot of people comfortably walking barefoot, not only around the beaches but literally everywhere else too — shopping malls, gas stations, cafes, visiting neighbors, and so on. In India, during a retreat, I got tired of carrying my shoes from one building to another, so I tried what the locals do. At first, I felt pain when pebbles on the ground dug into my feet but soon enough, being barefoot became a liberating and natural state. Maybe that is the reason why Australians are one of the most laid back and carefree people; and so are Indians, in their own ways.
In the East, our ancestors believed that water contains all the essential energy of the universe, since two thirds of our body is water, and two thirds of the earth is covered by water. The Water Element can be considered neither Yin (陰) nor Yang (陽). It is an element that is offered and used in all types of rituals all around the world.
Sun Tzu's philosophy on water is well described in his military strategy book, The Art of War: "Water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards;" "Water strikes at what is weak;" and "Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows." Against the same backdrop, the late actor and martial artist, Bruce Lee, famously quoted: "Be formless, shapeless, like water" Be water, my friend."
I can’t be sure whether wise men like water, or whether water makes men wise. Either way, beginning the day with meditation at the beach, with water all around me, certainly made me think of many wise things.
Maggie H is a Life Cartographer, Eastern philosopher, Qigong master, Buddhist and Taoist meditator, Feng Shui practitioner, and researcher of Buddhist scriptures. She lives in Hong Kong, and regularly travels to both India and South Korea to further her spiritual growth and development. Her lifelong motto is: "benefit to all humankind."
To view related posts, click on the relevant hashtags below: