The Color of Water

KMHuberImage
KMHuberImage

Ever wonder about the color of water? Water “…takes on the image of the entire world without ever losing its essential clearness,” whether it is a drop in an ocean, a mountain stream, or a rain puddle. (Mark Nepo).

In any given moment, the color of water is steel-gray, sky-blue, moss-green or dirt-brown for water easily embraces the colors of any obstacle anywhere, as the nature of water is movement, while its essence remains ever clear.

Washing over stones, roaring over a cliff to drop thousands of feet, or raining in torrents, it is the nature of water to take on any landscape for as long as necessary, even eons to fill a desert basin as a great salt lake. The nature of water is transparency for no one color ever stays, and no one outcome is preferred.

Like the nature of water we must “…embrace everything clearly without imposing who we are and without losing who we are” (Mark Nepo). It is the nature of human compassion to take on any event completely, no matter its color, but only for as long as necessary.

The highest good is like water.
Water gives life to the ten thousand
things and does not strive
.”

~Lao Tsu~

It is not so easy for us to take on the color of any experience for our nature is not the nature of water, even if our bodies are more water than tissue and bone.
Obstacle 0413 C

We are concerned with the image we present to the world—it may or may not reflect our true nature—often, it is an image thoughtfully prepared so it is somewhat opaque, designed to reflect certain colors in certain situations. It is how we survive in the larger current of human nature.

It is easier to remain within the current of human nature, whether or not that is who we actually are, for we are not water changing the landscape, unaffected by changes, yet the nature of water is a compassionate one.

The nature of water, its constancy to the flow that is all life—regardless of change–reveals we are more than any image we reflect or action that we take. In each moment there is the opportunity not to strive but to seek the essence of our heart, the source of our compassion.

Unlike the nature of water, we are not always aware or completely present in our lives. We are not free from extraordinary or ordinary obstacles but the color of water teaches us not to stay the color of those obstacles but ultimately, to run true and clear to who we are in the current of human nature.

Beneath the clouds, water desires only to flow, and beneath our tensions and problems, the human spirit wants only to embrace and soften” (Mark Nepo).

Perhaps the color of water is compassion reflecting as the colors of the day.

19 thoughts on “The Color of Water

  1. yet again a lovely post – even if I disagree with it- you are so poetical:) water is not the right allegory : water is transparent , yes – is true to itself, yes but compassionate, calming, gentle no no no – water ignores everything for its own good, it is creative in its very destructiveness. As a person I want to be attached – to those I love, to the planet that I love. I do not wish to just go my own way no matter what is in my way, as water does. I wish to take on the colour of others so that I can truely understand and be with them, but not take on the colour then to change a moment later, I am part of humanity and desire to be with humanity while keeping my own intergrity. I do wish to be myself to the ignoring of all the rest – I am not that important.

    However I enjoyed the post as I always do and I know you are not in fact like water – you are a great person:)

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    1. Hi, Alberta!
      Yes, we do disagree but it is always lovely to have you drop by. I would offer this: like water, we “embrace everything clearly without imposing who we are and without losing who we are” (Nepo) for as you say, no one of us is that important. Yet, the nature of water and human nature are not the same level of consciousness for we (as Lynette points out) plan and think whereas water, as you point out, goes its way. In other words, water may take on the colors of the day but we have the ability to choose which colors we reflect. I do believe water teaches us to be open to the impermanence that is life but then, my Buddhism is showing. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Alberta.
      KM

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  2. “Beneath the clouds, water desires only to flow, and beneath our tensions and problems, the human spirit wants only to embrace and soften” (Mark Nepo).

    Perhaps the color of water is compassion reflecting as the colors of the day.

    What a beautiful pair of thoughts. But I also have to point out that water is not always calm, ‘just desiring to flow.” If the land beneath the water makes a drop, if it’s full of rocks, water becomes fast moving and turbulent. Water flows without thought to how it shapes the rock and land beneath it. Water absorbs many of the minerals and other things along the way. And if the pool of water is still long enough it becomes stagnant. There are still parallels with human life, human thinking. But if water wants anything it is to embrace the trip, from sky to earth and everywhere in-between.

    Nice post. Thanks for making me think this morning, KM.

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    1. Hi, Lynette!
      I agree that water embraces all, whether it is gouging out a stream bed, dropping thousands of feet over a cliff or a still pool, it takes on whatever landscape it meets but in all it remains true to its essence. That, I think, is what we may learn from water, and as you say, a metaphor stretches only so far. Thanks for such a thoughtful comment; always appreciate you stopping by.
      KM

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    2. I like that answer better:) if I am able to chose what I do, take only part of the water, the transparancy and am left with my own self determination I beleive we could sit on a rock mid stream together and agree:)

      My mind thought is always away from the spiritual and toward the reality of the world. Finding my philosophy and morality from what is here and solid. Far away from you, but what you write always does inspire me even if I disagree. After the world (my passion) words and the arrangement of thoughts inspire me.

      I have been having an orgy of Verdi’s requiem this last couple of days. The music (even though I know the words and religion behind it) inspires me to desire a better me. Magic in music, magic in thought, magic in words – long may Karens words inspire:)

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  3. Hi Karen, loved this post and if course, the message. ” Embrace everything clearly without imposing who we are…”‘ what a statement. I keep going over that again and again, I just love it. Today I will try to focus on being true to who I am. Good practice and thank you for the beautiful words.

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    1. Hi, Stephanie! It really is a matter of being true to ourselves yet experiencing all there is to experience for at times, it is such a paradox. Thanks for the kind words.
      KM

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  4. Such a deep post–sorry about the bad pun; I couldn’t resist. I love the idea of taking on the colors without losing our essence. I love the image of compassion reflecting as the colors of the day. I will try to let the colors flow through me without getting attached. Another thanks for the reminders and beautiful metaphors. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

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    1. The pun was begging to be written, Kozo! To me, the color of water is a great lesson in not being attached and letting life flow through us, as you say–what a beautiful sentiment and what a paradox. I join you in water teaching me to reflect the moment for all it is worth and then, let it go. Hugs, my dear friend.
      KM

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  5. I love beginning my day by reading your meditations. I, too, would like to be like a pool of calm water — the image is comforting. But the very essence of non-thought is contrary to who I am. For the first time, I cannot fall into this essay and feel nourished. Instead, I struggle, I do strive. If I were drowning, I would fight to survive. I’m not so concerned about my image as I am about the essence of who I am — Consciousness. The ability to choose. That very human desire to create, to communicate, to make my world a little better. Does water think or plan? Here is that old struggle between being and becoming. Oh, put me on the side of becoming, for the paradox is that I am what I am, both being and becoming, but always becoming anew. Karen, your writing takes me to different places and is always appreciated.

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    1. Your point regarding non-thought is a good one, and one to consider for it illustrates the paradox that your comment so beautifully describes. Water is ever flowing and our level of awareness allows us that as well as the ability to consider the changes we wrought, and so we are faced with the ageless awareness of being and becoming, as you say. As always, thank you for such thoughtful and considered comments, Beth.
      KM

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  6. I wish I could be more like water- I like the image of running true and clear especially, but as well reflecting the world around us, as it is at any one moment. Lovely post Karen!

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    1. Like you, I aspire to the nature of water, and perhaps, that is all our human nature allows for as Beth and Nepo points out, our lives are such a paradox. Glad you enjoyed the post, Diana.

      KM

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