Water knows no fear, anticipation, or surprise.
Remaining calm, clear, and true,
It suffers not the future
And reflects beauty in tranquility.
Water neither seeks nor resists conflict.
Flowing with simplicity and efficiency,
It suffers not the present
And reflects beauty in turbulence.
Water dwells not on drama or regret.
Resuming the original condition,
It suffers not the past
And reflects beauty in equilibrium.
Water approaches obstacles without doubt, fear, hesitation, expectation, or anticipation. It simply remains calm and clear until it reaches an obstacle. One might think that this would leave it ill prepared to handle obstacles, but water needs no preparation. By knowing itself perfectly, staying true to its nature, and maintaining composure in the moment, nothing can surprise it.
Water meets obstacles without resistance or eagerness. It simply flows around and through, following the path of least resistance. It may become wild and turbulent during the encounter, but only as much as the obstacle requires.
When obstacles have passed, water quickly returns to a state of calm and clarity. It does not cling or dwell. It does not suffer guilt or regret. It does not seek further drama. It simply moves on with poise, composure, and equanimity. This is the balance it maintains as it moves from obstacle to obstacle.
These strategies apply equally well to the lives of human beings.
By offering such profound lessons, for those willing to see them, water also provides further evidence of the emergent beauty of nature (Li). There are parallel processes all around us, and therefore, we can look to nature’s other manifestations for advice, assistance, inspiration, clues, and strategies on how to negotiate the rapids and challenges in our own lives. This is the gift of Li. We need only accept it, trust it, and have faith in it.