The River Cannot Go Back

Kahlil Gibran

listen_btn

Awakin FeatureIt is said that before entering the sea
a river trembles with fear.
She looks back at the path she has traveled,
from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests and villages.
And in front of her,
she sees an ocean so vast,
that to enter
there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.
But there is no other way.
The river can not go back.
Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.
The river needs to take the risk
of entering the ocean
because only then will fear disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,
but of becoming the ocean.

Seed questions for reflection: What does becoming the ocean mean to you? Can you share an experience of a time you faced the fear of losing who you were, only to enter into an identity that was much greater than you could imagine? What helps you shed your riverhood and embrace your oceanhood in every moment?

Add Your Reflection:

27 Previous Reflections:

  • link
    On Jul 6, 2020 Minal wrote:
    This is amazing... Simply put that one has to overcome fear as there is no other way then to overcome one's fear and move ahead in life.. Flowing water is the best metaphor for Living life fearlessly.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On Jun 1, 2020 Barbara wrote:
    Over 20 years ago I was dealing with my son's heroin addiction and the ripples of discord and dysfunction through out my entire family. I truly believed I would never escape the pain and believed my son would die. My therapist encouraged me to go to grad school to follow my dream of becoming a therapist. With much fear I proceeded and eventually became a clinicalsocial worker helping others in cultivating self awareness and resilience. My son eventually recovered and is now a director in an international private school.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 28, 2020 Sumit Bhatia wrote:
    Very well shared! We often take big life decisions, moving from our comfortable zone to the uncomfortable one, the right one, the progressive one! We know that's right and developing, yet we tremble, try everything to stop ourselves. But once we determine a little stronger, take decision to move on, enter into the sea of life, we become the OCEAN! We do look back, memories come afresh, but it is the good memories and rewarding contentment, becoming better, becoming bigger, entering into a new orbit, certainly for good!

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 28, 2020 Manoj Gautam wrote:
    The river , when it starts its journey from the mountains is destined to meet and be one with the Ocean.. It's only when the realization dawns on the river, that it first trembles , falters , unsure , sure and then accepts the ultimate merging...
    what more can this make us realise , if not the oneness with the Divine....

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 28, 2020 catherine hegazi wrote:
    let's get the ocean's take on this :)

    1 reply: Manoj | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 27, 2020 Robert Greeney wrote:
    Vast ocean seeds the more vast sky
    With rivers past and future
    Falling rains of every kind
    Feed rivers flow and work
    Ocean and sky keep rivers alive
    The veins of planet earth

    1 reply: Catherine | Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 27, 2020 vaibhavi wrote:
    Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 27, 2020 Sunil Mor, Bangalore wrote:
    Oceanhood means complete soul consciousness of the divine world abonding the body consciousness of the physical world.Personal progress on entering into the soul world determines our experiences from time to time. These are pure celetial private indescribable experiences. Meditation, the art of going deep within helps to shed our riverhood slowly and steadily.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 26, 2020 Sharon wrote:
    To me the river refers to our "self" our "soul" and its flow thru life. One opens and lets loose of "self" becoming one drop in the ocean of life and love. "We are are all drops of one ocean" Baha'i Faith quote.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 26, 2020 Patrick wrote:
    And so it is with Divine LOVE (God by any other name), by entering into LOVE we become one with LOVE, and discover from whence we came in the first place. T.S. Eliot expressed this as well in Little Gidding. }:- a.m. (anonemoose monk)

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 26, 2020 Dave Brown wrote:
    "The wheel is turning and you can't slow down
    You can't let go and you can't hold on
    You can't go back and you can't stand still"

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 26, 2020 Vandana wrote:
    I am entering into this vast ocean right now. I usually don't add people on Facebook if I don't know them but since I started the Buddhist path and listening/meditating Buddha's teachings about having a open heart I am trying to check my own fear. It's opposite to what I learned from my culture conditioning. I was taught not to trust strangers. But if I have to move forward on this path I need to cultivate a loving kindness heart for all beings without any judgements and exceptions. I am still not sure if it's ok? But I need to take this risk so I can become a part of this ocean and lose this mind made Self.
    May all beings be peaceful 🙏🏽

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 26, 2020 Vicky wrote:
    It's about what Identity means. How do we define ourselves? What labels do we attach to ourselves that make us who we are? Am I a river? If I'm a river, how can I be an ocean? I've always been a river. I know these banks, those rocks, these fish. What lies ahead is unfamiliar, and I'm afraid.
    If we can separate ourselves from our perceived identity, we can become closer to a feeling of belonging to this unknown, of being a part of a whole, of being connected to the great Mystery. The river surrenders who she thinks she is and becomes unified with All.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 26, 2020 D Derek wrote:
    This story is a wonderful metaphor.... #Love

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 26, 2020 Anilkumar Pandit wrote:
    Realizing the seamless connectivity of my Internal space with Universal space is akin to merging of river with ocean, albeit without any motion. Let's consider the river as a wholesome entity from source to ocean. It remains forever connected to the ocean. So also our internal space all through life time (berth to death and thereafter) remains connected with Universal space. This realization resolves the any turbulence at time of death as paralleled with the river about to merge in ocean.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 26, 2020 Lucrezia wrote:
    To me the reality of never being able to go back to past times in hindsight you wish you could, to be free of any and all regrets. To be at the end of your life and let go, to be in peace and love and know you are only a minute particle of what makes up the immense ocean, that nothing in your past really holds any meaning now and forever. In that way all sorrow, losses, hurts are shed and left in the river as you enter the ocean.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 26, 2020 eszter wrote:
    Becoming the ocean means being freer to expand and be more of who I am

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 26, 2020 Fatuma Namukasa wrote:
    From being delivered in this uncertain world...we tremble and fear...that's why we scream when we are delivered...then slowly as reivers...we meander our ways...and become part of the ocean...the world...!!!

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 26, 2020 Nicole wrote:
    I fully share and this is life. Becoming part of the ocean means that you embrace the change and the new world. Fighting it is a no go because it's there. You have to embrace and adapt. What helps is raising awareness and to do the best out of it. The good thing is that with time passing, one gets more experience and got probably also learnings that helps you to embrace a to adapt more easily.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 26, 2020 deepti mirani wrote:
    we all have traveled long way and jumping into something new always has anxieties. But at times, we need to take the plunge, with the trust that we wont get lost but rather grow infinitely.


    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 25, 2020 Dolly Parikh wrote:
    I feel I am at that point in my spiritual journey where I feel the little tremble. My girls who are 23-year old twins feel like I am getting deeper into joining a cult and I fear I will lose them if I go any deeper. The ocean is the vast consciousness that I naturally belong to and yet I feel alone and fearful of the next step. I experience the ocean within all the time and yet I am not ready to join it.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 24, 2020 David Doane wrote:
    The River Cannot Go Back is a beautiful statement by Gibran. Becoming an ocean means to me returning fully to that from which I came. I am a wave of being in the ocean of Being. I've had times of facing and losing my fear of death when I realize that in death the experience I'm having in the wave form I call me will subside and be thoroughly part of the Ocean once again. In moments that I have that awareness, I am in riverhood and of oceanhood which I embrace and of which I am.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 22, 2020 Mariette Fourmeaux wrote:
    Becoming the ocean means to surrender, to release the river banks that have held me confined and restricted. The river banks that have tried to define me and control me. I finally break free and surrender into the wholeness of my being, in unison with the complete truth.

    Post Your Reply
  • link
    On May 22, 2020 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    Are there two separate identities-the river identity and the ocean identity? Or is there One identity? Outwardly, there appearstwo identities like the river and the ocean. But when they embrace each other and merge into each other, they become one. When I love someone deeply, I become one with her. There are no twos. In pure love there is only one. They may appear two. Pure love creates a union of two and they become one. When I consider myself as body-mind complex, I have a separate identity. Two different names and forms. My true identity is nameless and formless. According to the ancient Vedanta philosophy, My True identity is Divine identity. It is not bound by my individual identity. When I merge into the ocean of Divinity, I become one with it. We may call it soul identity. When I got deeply connected with my beloved I felt I was in a different , unfamiliar and unchartered territory. Since I had not traveled on this love path before, at times I felt the fear of the new territory.... [View Full Comment] Are there two separate identities-the river identity and the ocean identity? Or is there One identity? Outwardly, there appearstwo identities like the river and the ocean. But when they embrace each other and merge into each other, they become one. When I love someone deeply, I become one with her. There are no twos. In pure love there is only one. They may appear two. Pure love creates a union of two and they become one. When I consider myself as body-mind complex, I have a separate identity. Two different names and forms. My true
    identity is nameless and formless. According to the ancient Vedanta philosophy, My True identity is Divine identity. It is not bound by my individual identity. When I merge into the ocean of Divinity, I become one with it. We may call it soul identity.
    When I got deeply connected with my beloved I felt I was in a different , unfamiliar and unchartered territory. Since I had not traveled on this love path before, at times I felt the fear of the new territory. It did not stay longer. The light of true love dispelled that fear. It brought deep unending joy and fulfillment in me as well as in my beloved. We became one.
    When I let go of my ego and open my heart to the other person, I shed my individual body-mind identity, the river identity, I became one with the ocean-like identity. I call it Spiritual Identity. I become mindful when I sense my ego identity arising in my consciousness. I sense the shadow of darkness coming and I mindfully make a shift from darkness to light. I meditate on the Vedic mantra in Sanskrit "Asato ma sad gamaya, tamsormajyotir gamaya, mrityor ma amritamgamaya. Om shantihi, shantihi, shantihi" Lead me from untruth to truth, from darkness to light, from mortality to immortality. Om Peace, Peace, Peace!

    Namaste!
    JagdishP Dave'



    unseen teritorry



    [Hide Full Comment]

    1 reply: A.P.Deshpande | Post Your Reply

Search Awakin Readings

Or search by year, author, or category.

Subscribe to Weekly Email

Every week, we send out a digest with a reading and inspiring stories to our global community of 94,134 people. Subscribe below.

(unsubscribe)

Contact Us

If you'd like to suggest a thought or want to drop us a suggestion, drop us a note.