This verse (78th) of the Tao describes the nature of water and how it functions with life.
“Nothing in the world is softer and weaker that water.
But for attacking the hard, the unyielding nothing can surpass it.
There is nothing like it.
The weak overcomes the strong; the soft surpasses the hard.
In all the world , there is no one who does not know this. but no one can master the practice.
Therefore the master remains serene in the midst of sorrow;
evil cannot enter his heart. Because he has given up helping he is people’s greatest help” – Lao-tzu
Not only is water a large part of our life but it shows us about the nature of life. Water is a mystery. When you place your hand into a stream and tightly grab the water, the water slips away and all is lost. When you place your hand into a stream and relax it, let go, your hand becomes one with the water. By letting go you become one.
So what are the true characteristics of water?
- Yield to overcome the unyielding. Some may say “let go and let God”. The firm and hard are conquered or overcome, by persistence of gentle things. Think of the steady flow of water or a drip over rock. Eventually, the rock will erode and a path will be carved in the rock. Gentle persistence with unyielding effort and unwillingness to stop will transform the hardest rock. Act like water and be persistent.
- Water appears to be something that can be controlled and contained. Once you believe that you have contained water it overcomes. If forced out of the way, it will find its way back and seep into any crack, and work at the point of least resistance. Dams and levees will eventually erode and yield to the properties of water. When the bible references the meek shall inherit the earth could it not also be said that weak overcome the strong. Water is flexible you must learn to have humility and give way to the resistance. Letting go of resistance is your true nature.
- Water cannot be harmed, deformed, or destroyed. It is soft and indestructible. No matter what happens to it, water will always come back to its source and used again. If hot enough, water will evaporate into the atmosphere and return in the form of rain. You can nourish your body by drinking water, and it will naturally return to the earth. Waer can be polluted and with time will eventually be naturally purified by the earth and ready for consumption again. Everything described is possible because water is soft and giving.
Staying soft will overcome the hard and become indestructible. Water is the softest thing on earth and is able to overcome everything. Stay soft and practice patience rather that exerting rigidity and control. Trust in your higher self. Being hard and rigid and dominate are not virtues of strength. Those qualities will eventually be overcome by softness. Change your view about these things and your world will change. Emulate those who are pliable and your true inner strength will come through. Make it a point to not interfere or intervene, emulate water and stay pliable and soft. Stream like water and flow softly, around the hard, and into the areas needed.