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.
Thank you for writing this open article that has made me delve a little deeper into my reaction to my own ego involvement when discussing spiritual matters. Somehow, I get a gut feeling of, almost, shame when I start trying to impress others. I recognize it immediately as being inauthentic in my self and in others. I consider it a lack in my own spiritual growthand then deeply regret participating in ego driven conversations. My "Authenticity" warning is a gut feeling.
A quiet interested open mind seems to absorb. It is deep listening. I am working on getting to that deep listening place much more often. Each day I think "today I will listen carefully and with respect".