Be like water

As I was exploring the Old City in Stockholm, an occasionally recurring situation arose. Having the intention to attend a timely event, in this case the change of guards ceremony at the Royal Palace, I instead became engaged in a 2-hour bench conversation with a wiser, older, semi-retired Swede.

We addressed a number of topics, but at some point the conversation concerned water. “Be like water” was the focal point of that topic.

What does it mean to be like water? What does water represent to me?

It fuels the life within me.

It cleanses the body and sharpens the mind.

It provides the energy to exercise the mind over matter.

It fills three dimension with unparalleled flexibility, never raising a complaint or demonstrating resistance.

It employs different forms under extreme conditions, solidifying under extreme cold, vaporizing under extreme heat.

It causes light to bend.

It extinguishes flames.

It can give life but also take it.

It can assimilate color and taste in presence of external agents, while respecting it’s fundamental characteristics.

It has infinite patience and wisdom, but it is not invulnerable.

It can be harmed or plagued, but also cured.

It is dangerous in extreme quantities, but subject of powerful desire in scarce conditions.

It is diplomatic in some circumstances and totalitarian in others.

It can blend into surroundings like a ninja, disturb the surroundings like an frightened mammoth, and impact them like an unstable tectonic plate.

It can become explosive if provoked.

It has many faces and shapes.

It has distributed control hierarchy rather than centralized. In fact, it is infinitely distributed and simultaneously singular.

It punishes rigidity and rewards malleability.

Be malleable. Be like water.