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The River

May 12, 2016

 

The other day I found myself sitting on the bank of a large river, watching the heavy waters passing, while wrestling with thoughts about the struggles in my life. The moment was timeless, and the smooth flow of that huge volume of water was almost hypnotic. It occurred to me that many souls had probably sat in that same place over the centuries, lost in similar thoughts, struggling with similar problems. The river had seen it all, and it didn't care. Its steady parade of bank dwellers had come and gone, drifting through life, much more similar to each other than any one of them would have realized at the time. Their problems, some of which might have seemed monumental, would have come and gone as well. The river had kept on flowing regardless, knowing that all of it was common, and that life would inevitably go on like the passage of the waters, eventually reaching its destination.

 

As I sat in that frozen moment, imagining the millions of water molecules tumbling over each other, racing towards the future, I gradually became aware of the river of time that raced past invisibly, running parallel to the waters in front of me. This other river was full to the top of its banks with seconds, minutes and hours, tumbling past in an unstoppable torrent. The power in this hidden flow was immense, reaching to every part of the entire universe at the same time, achieving its profound affects throughout all of creation with no thought to consequences. This river had seen a myriad of souls sitting on many river banks, pondering the same problems of life that I was. Neither of these rivers cared. Their flows would continue in spite of it all, and the line of lost souls would continue to stretch into infinity, like the paired reflections in facing mirrors.

 

The change in perspective that I experienced that day was profound. I became aware of the fact that I wasn't sitting on the bank alone. Superimposed over me were countless lives just like mine, juggling the same success and failures, and trying to sort out their many futures. I was watching the passage of these two rivers amidst an enormous crowd of invisible comrades, sharing common feelings, fears and destiny, many of us feeling lost and alone. 

 

You are not alone. Regardless of what you may be facing, you are surrounded by a vast sea of humanity, visible and invisible, that share your view of these passing rivers. The difficulties you face will come and go, as will those of all the lives that share the banks with you. As with every member of that crowd, it is yours to decide to whether to seize the day, or to let it tumble past, disappearing into the future, never to return. The rivers will watch indifferently, but they know the secret. They have seen the same stage with similar actors performing similar roles endlessly. Life is to be grasped, lived, and experienced fully. Even the difficulties are just things that flow past briefly, common to all of us. Life will tumble by, either lived or lost. The choice is yours. I choose life in every moment.

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