Going with the Flow

Learning to go with the flow

Go with the flow

Too often we struggle against what is, attempting to change things to what we would prefer them to be. Maybe we wish our jobs were easier or paid better. Perhaps we wish our children or spouses were more agreeable. We may even wish the world at large was easier to navigate: that the pandemic was over, that our political candidate had won, or that wars weren’t happening. Struggling against things that we cannot control can lead to stress, frustration, anger, disappointment, and despair. Learning to go with the flow can help eliminate this struggle and stress, and lead to greater peace and clarity. 

Wisdom from Confucius

The following is a short story from Confucius that illustrates the wisdom of going with the flow. 

“At the Gorge of Lu, the great waterfall plunges for thousands of feet, its spray visible for miles. In the churning waters below, no living creature can be seen.

One day, K’ung Fu-tse (Confucius) was standing at a distance from the pool’s edge, when he saw an old man being tossed about in the turbulent water. He called to his disciples, and together they ran to rescue the victim. But by the time they reached the water, the old man had climbed out onto the bank and was walking along, singing to himself.

K’ung Fu-tse hurried up to him. “You would have to be a ghost to survive that,” he said, “but you seem to be a man, instead. What secret power do you have?”

“Nothing special,” the old man replied. “I began to learn while very young, and grew up practicing it. Now I am certain of success. I go down with the water and come up with the water. I follow it and forget myself. I survive because I don’t struggle against the water’s superior power. That’s all.”