The Still River


A small river came to a place where previously it had flowed easily in its riverbed.  But now, an insurmountable obstacle obstructed its way: a dam.  The river pushed against this impediment as much as it could, but after much fruitless effort, it found it could do nothing about its new circumstance.

This sense that all forward progress was completely halted lasted for a long time.  Eventually the river was forced to recognize its limitations and that there was no escape from this persistent state of apparent failed progress.  Though once it flowed freely, now the river could do nothing at all.  The lack of forward progress became the norm, and after a long time, the river no longer looked like a river at all – its former appearance was completely lost.

Then, after a time so long that the water nearly forgot about its former manner of being, a day came when the water had risen, ever so slowly and quietly, to the top of the dam, and there it found a new way to flow. Now, free and without effort, it fell downward, accelerating, and growing in power. The river plunged until it found its former way.  At that time and in that place, the river, being transformed, had gained immense power and was a source of great energy.

So, forced for a time to accept new boundaries and be completely changed in its nature, the river acquired a whole new potential.  Later, after that and farther downstream, the river, once forced to learn stillness, returned to its former state, having come to know of great energy in its being.