Reading by Liz Helgesen (Download file)
Water in its clear softness fills whatever hole it finds. It is not skeptical or distrusting. It does not say this gully is too deep or that field is too open. Like water, the miracle of love is that it covers whatever it touches, making the touched thing grow while leaving no trace of its touch.
Most things break instead of transform because they resist. The quiet miracle of love is that without our interference, it, like water, accepts whatever is tossed or dropped or placed into it, embracing it completely.
Of course, we are human and are easily hurt if not loved back or if loved poorly. But we waste so much of life’s energy by deliberating who and what shall be worthy of our love when in the deepest elemental sense, these choices are not in our province, any more than rain can choose what it shall fall upon.
In truth, the more we let love flow, the more we have to love. This is the inner glow that sages and saints of all ages seem to share: the wash of their love over everything before then; not just people, but birds and rocks and flowers and air.
Beneath the many choices we have to make, love, like water, flows back into the world through us. It is the one great secret available to all. Yet somewhere the misperception has been enshrined that to withhold love will stop hurt. It is the other way around. As water soaks scars, love soothes our wounds. If opened to, love will accept the angrily thrown stone, and our small tears will lose some of their burn in the great ocean of tears, and the arrow released to the bottom of the river will lose its point. Only love with no thought of return can soften the point of suffering.
Mark Nepo is a poet, teacher, storyteller and author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, The Book of Awakening. This excerpt is taken from The Book of Awakening.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does loving like water mean to you? Can you share an experience of a time you felt or received such a love? What practice helps you develop the ability to love like this?