Stepping into the river

Sometimes, the only way I can be “productive” is by fooling myself. Thus, when logic and rationality prove unpersuasive, I resort to compelling narratives and vivid imagery. And one of the most powerful images I have is that of standing in a river. I imagine myself wading, barefoot, from the bank, out into the current. I imagine that, in my hand, is a spear. And I imagine that I am there to hunt. I feel the cold, fresh water rush around my lower body and I watch as multitudes of fish swim towards me. As I advance to the centre of the river, the fish swerve, avoiding my foreign presence. But as I find my position and become still, waiting, their avoidance lessens. I become a part of the river, and the fish begin to edge closer, to swim in closer proximity to me. When they do this, when they get close enough, I bring my arm down, releasing the spear in the swiftest of motions, impaling one of the fish.

This imagery suits the task of writing. If I feel that I cannot create, then I wade into the river, watch what comes downstream and capture it with my pen. It also suits the process of meditation and mindfulness. Step into the river of thought, be still, and see what flows by. It has another layer too. Heraclitus said that we never step in the same river twice. It is true; every time I take off my shoes and make my way into the river of thought, it is different. The fish are different, the river bed feels different between my toes, the sky above me is new, and the water that so gently moves around me is, without question, not the same.