7 Benefits of the Water Path
The vast majority of the world’s methods for awakening spiritual potential are fire based. Fire methods are characterized by forceful or controlled breathing, rigid body postures, the use of will and self-exertion, or medicine plants. The rarer, water based methods open us through surrender, self-acceptance, natural breath, and stillness or gentle, flowing movements. Water methods allow one to open to the great mystery of life through wu wei, which means “doing without doing”. Here are some of the benefits of following the water path:
1. Water is the Essence of Life
Ever wonder why the symbol of immortality is called the “Fountain of Youth”? It’s because water is the essence of life itself. Our bodies are mostly water, as is our blood. The most ancient source of life on this planet is the ocean. Our individual source is the watery womb of our mother. Practicing a water system opens the floodgates of self-renewal, aligning us with the invisible mother energy that nourishes and sustains all life.
2. Water is Receptive
Have you heard the sayings, “Your cup is full” or “Empty your cup” ? It refers to a person who is holding too many concepts and is unable to learn something new. When the mind is in a masculine space, it projects thought, when the mind is in a receptive, feminine state, it absorbs information. One may enter a deep space of receptivity in body and mind, aligning with the “one-law” (Tao), and coming into resonance with the energy of the eternal. In this space, learning takes place directly, beyond words. To be receptive means to be in touch with primordial wisdom.
3. Water is the Ultimate Solvent
Do you feel renewed after taking a shower, or even better, after bathing in natural waters like a hot spring or river? Immersing ourselves in water allows us to relax and let go of stuck thoughts, emotions, and cleanse ourselves on a physical level. When cultivating the water path energetically, its healing and cleansing effects are more subtle, thus more penetrating. Ultimately, the water path enables us to let go of anything that is obstructing our innate wisdom.
4. Water Yields
Water takes the shape of any vessel you pour it into. It is not rigid. Water adapts to the changes in it’s environment instead of striving to change the environment to suit it; thus it prevails in any circumstance. To walk the water path is to be a shapeshifter. Lao Tzu says, “Yield and overcome; Bend and be straight.” Being flexible and adapting to change allows us to retain our energy rather than becoming exhausted in resistance. The internal flow of water is opened by surrendering the “measuring stick” of the mind and allowing oneself to experience the unknown. Connecting directly with the great mystery of Tao is possible when we yield to a force greater than ourselves.
5. Water promotes Youthfulness and Longevity
There are methods to open the “downward flow” of celestial water, from the crown of the head down. The energy travels through the Sushumna, or central channel of the body and is stored between the navel and kidneys (called the lower dan tien). By storing energy in the lower dan tien, we nourish the kidneys, which is the seat of our jing — our primary life essence. This builds and fortifies the foundation of health and increases vitality to a level of overabundance. Being like water while practicing brings the body into a high level of coherence i.e., sacred resonance, that can cause regeneration on a glandular level. This approach creates a strong contrast to fire-based methods of awakening, such as Kundalini, which can lead to adrenal exhaustion, anxiety and other health complications. Kundalini pushes the vital essence up the spine, eventually breaking through the crown of the skull. While awakening may occur, it can leave one depleted and weakened, much like a man may feel after an orgasm.
6. Water Takes the Path of Least Resistance
What is the quickest way down a mountain? Water will find it. The path of least resistance is the swiftest way to reaching one’s goal. Perhaps this is why water methods are considered the “quick-quick” path of awakening. An interesting note is that if you strive too much for quick awakening you end up prolonging it. Complete, heartfelt surrender without holding on to conceptual preferences is the path of least resistance in action.
7. Water is Compassionate
“Compassion wells naturally from Buddha nature,
like spring water gushing forth from the depths of the earth.”
~ Kenneth Holmes
Water has often been associated with compassion. What happens when we enter a state of compassion that transcends sentimentality? We become like space itself, which is the subtle manifestation of water. We become the wish fulfilling jewel. In Buddhism, the wish fulfilling jewel is held by compassion Buddha, Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara), at heart level between his two praying hands. When we embody this powerful expression of water, our compassion for self, others, and existence itself unveils the profound mystery of our own self-fulfillment.