Be Like Water

“Be like water.” – Bruce Lee


I have thought about this quote before and what it meant to me as I was taught and later learned more from Cherokee friends.  It is a lesson that is passed down in various ways and through various religions, but the basic truth is the same – we should be like water.    I think I like the wisdom of the Tao and its explanation for being like water.


Think about water and what it does, we are nourished by it, everything has to have it to live and grow, we are made up of something like 85% water.  Water can help cleanse, heal, if it is stationary it can become stagnant, but left to flow freely it stays pure.  Water doesn’t seek elevation, instead it settles into the lowest places, gathers into our rivers, lakes, and streams where it makes its way to the seas and oceans then evaporates to become snow or rain to fall down and restart the cycle. 

Water doesn’t play favorites, it doesn’t map out things, it doesn’t plan to irrigate our crops, to quench our thirst, to provide for animals or marine life and definitely not to provide entertainment for us to be able to fish, ski, sail, and swim or scuba dive.  Water is simply doing what comes naturally to water and that is enough.  Water is what it was created to be.

Now stop and think about that quote again – “be like water.”  What does that mean according to how we should live?  It means we should not assume to put ourselves in a place of importance, but by being our authentic selves we can touch and affect many lives.  It means being receptive to everyone and aware of our surroundings as well as other people.  It means to be aware of the low places, have an open mind should you go there and be willing to cleanse, heal, and make a difference. 

Water is not irritating, it is soothing, but at the same time water should be respected, appreciated and not taken for granted.  This does not mean you should always just go with the flow.  Water, like us, wants to be free.  When we are bottled up and not allowed to be who we are supposed to be we become stagnant, poisoned and polluted with bad attitudes and clogged emotions. 

The bible says that Jesus is the Living water and we nourish our souls by Him through His word and study.  The Toa also suggests spiritual water given by God to nourish the mind and soul.  Take a moment to be thankful for water, for without it we could not live, then take a moment to be thankful that the very unassuming substance that sustains our life is also a great example of how to live.

 Cherry Coley ©