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Have you ever wondered how rivers endure difficulties?

How do rivers gain strength?

How can you make your life flow smoothly like a river?

Which river qualities teach effortless simplicity?

River has mentored me my entire life. In this article, I’ll share what I learned in 25 days of walking 800 kilometers next to it.

“You cannot enter the same river twice.”

Human civilization has thrived by rivers since humanity’s start. The serene whispers of rivers offer wisdom for those seeking simplicity. Rivers flow forever, and so does life. Imagine immersing yourself in the river’s flow, where each ripple tells a tale of resilience, a lesson in navigating life’s currents.

Like the river’s gentle journey, these unique qualities guide us to streamline existence and enhance our potential. Rivers share insights that transform life from chaos to calm, adaptability to tranquil strength in stillness.

Navigate the currents of exploration and let them carry you on a voyage to embrace the river’s qualities in your life, where the ordinary becomes extraordinary and life becomes a profound art.

“Water in your bottle and a river differ in their freedom to flow.”

The liveliness of a river comes from its flow, which sets it apart from lakes. In rivers, the ever-flowing spirit is constant. The river is like a wheel; it has no start or end. The phases of this wheel are river, ocean, clouds, and rainfall. This is how rivers remain composed despite reckless rocks coming their way.

Human life should also change and flow to stay lively like a river; yet many of us stop the flow with our challenges. What we hold onto brings stress and misery. We make these challenges ourselves as dams on our freely flowing river. For many, these obstacles relate to health, wealth, relationships, or a mix, and they block our life flow.

As I walked by a river daily, I felt like a river. I experienced the flow state within me, without clinging to my past location or meals. I wasn’t attached to the people I met, as flowing like the river was constant. This practice remained in me after my walk ended in November 2022. I witness life as a flow, like a river.

  • What are you holding on to that is blocking the flow of your life?
  • Have you simplified your life to flow constantly?
  • What will make your life flow more?

“Acceptance brings lightness, embrace life’s bends and curves.”

River accepts as it is in all situations. It accepts flowers or waste without resistance. It adapts to floods and extreme heat. It carves through terrain as it steers turns and twists. Resisting change and rejecting challenges can disrupt the flow of life.

Acceptance does not mean resignation, but it shows a willingness to adapt and find calm in every situation. The river never resists obstacles but finds a way to pass around them. Accept what you can change, so that you free yourself from unnecessary suffering and open yourself to unknown possibilities.

Blisters formed on my feet during my walk. Acceptance kept me going. Sometimes it was cold at night and often too hot by day to walk. Occasionally, muddy swamps stuck with me. Whenever resistance surfaced, I observed the river’s graceful acceptance of its ever-changing surroundings, its turns, or when a muddier stream joined it. Wherever the river led, I accepted. Likewise, wherever life takes me, I rejoice.

  • How do you react to the changes in your life?
  • Are you willing to adapt to situations that are against your wishes?
  • How can you incorporate acceptance into your life?

“The river dances and sings joyfully as it tumbles down the hill.”

All moments are meant to be joyful, as they are the essence of a fulfilling life. An inherent rhythm and movement hide behind the changes, regardless of the river’s situation. A river dances to Nature’s beat, mingling with each barrier. It is joyful all the time. It does not wait for grand events to be happy.

A river celebrates the large trees by the riverbank, thorny bushes, and the sight of colorful flowers dancing in the breeze. In our lives, we can also cultivate the act of rejoicing by having appreciation and gratitude in ever-changing situations. Even if rainy days come, rejoicing in every moment makes life lighter.

Monkeys surrounded me in the forest once while I carried fruits, letting me enjoy the walk with my new forest friends. Often, I lost my way from the river, especially when the stream narrowed in the mountains. I followed the sound of the river as I sought the riverbank during these moments. All these experiences made me rejoice in the different phases of life.

  • Do you enjoy all the moments in life?
  • When was the last time you rejoiced unconditionally in your life?
  • How can you embrace joy in your life?

“Surrender to the natural course of life to release control.”

A river never resists obstacles such as rocks, weather changes, etc. Instead, it finds its way out, so effortlessly navigating in its valley. Similarly, our life also has valleys where we can surrender to find our way out as well.

When we stop trying to control the outcome and embrace uncertainty, we open ourselves to surrender. It means trusting the flow of life and observing how life unfolds. Just like a river that effortlessly follows its course, we can learn to let go and have faith in the natural progression of events.

Clutching a wooden pole from a broken bridge, I crossed a stream. The current was so strong that I lost balance midstream. Soon, I found myself clinging to the broken bridge with my feet floating, I could not climb onto the pole. At that moment, I had no choice but to yield to the strong current. I released the pole, and the river swept me away.

I surrendered to the river and learned from it. After floating about 70m, I reached the shore, realizing that panic would have doomed me. Surrender gave me the chance to share this now.

Rivers make dead bodies float and draw down panicking, struggling people with currents.

Surrender makes dead bodies light enough to float, teaching us a valuable lesson. By embracing this quality, one can maintain composure in challenging situations and remain unaffected by everyday disruptions.

  • Are you able to surrender control in your life?
  • Can you trust the natural process of your life?
  • In which situations you are willing to surrender?

“A river is persistent in the face of numerous challenges.”

A river steadily moves from a little stream in the hills to the ocean. The river’s tenacity keeps it going despite the challenges of weather changes, dams, and debris thrown by human society. It finds a way to navigate its path.

We can learn from the persistence demonstrated here and apply it to our own goals. Embracing dedication and perseverance will make us unstoppable in achieving anything in our lives.

Walking 800 kilometers in 25 days, averaging 32 kilometers daily, requires much persistence. Whenever I felt overwhelmed by pain, weather, or any situation, I looked back at the river. How persistent the river is, taking curvy routes and sometimes veering away from the ocean, yet it keeps going. Flowing like a river sustains me in life, even if I must take a longer route to my destination.

  • In which situation do you give up and why?
  • What is stopping you from being persistent in your life?
  • What are the next steps to become persistent in life?

“A river flows without maps or guidance.”

A river flows, relying on its resources, without needing validation or support. It finds its way, carving paths and adapting to changes, remaining independent and resilient as it moves forward.

By trusting our inner strength and resources, we can navigate life’s challenges without relying on external validation or support. Having confidence in our decisions and abilities cultivates self-reliance, empowering us to overcome obstacles.

I was also without maps and guides during my journey. Whenever I was lost in the bushes going away from the riverbank, I had to find a way on my own. Once, I got stuck in muddy water so vast and full of long grasses that I could not see any path. The irony was that I could see the nearby city buildings, but no pathway led me out of the swamped land.

Trusting my instincts and using my skills, I navigated unfamiliar terrain, overcame challenges, and found an abandoned school building. From the terrace, I saw the pathway to the city. From there, I reached the riverbank.

  • How often do you rely on validation from others?
  • Are you confident in your abilities to make decisions?
  • What steps can you take to be self-reliant?

“River always seeks abundance, endless growth possibilities”

A river starts from a source and constantly seeks new paths, never limited by its knowledge or discoveries. It remains curious, constantly seeking new experiences for infinite growth possibilities.

Human life seeks abundance, the infinite possibilities of growth. That’s why we always want to improve our health, wealth, and relationships. Instead of staying within our comfort zone, we should push ourselves to explore the unknown and embrace opportunities for growth and discovery. Let us adopt a mindset of exploration and curiosity to welcome abundance in our lives.

Throughout my journey, I’ve witnessed rivers relentlessly pursuing infinity. They effortlessly widen and grow, regardless of their initial size or the breadth of the current. In just a week, I watched a narrow stream, barely two feet wide, transform into a grand river. Rivers eagerly embrace the vastness of the ocean and the boundless potential that lies beyond.

This lesson from the river inspires me to explore my potential. I become uncomfortable in my comfort zone. It makes me curious to experience the unknown, the vast abundance. By having a mindset of infinite possibilities, we can overcome limitations to discover new horizons for our path to abundance.

  • Are you in your comfort zone?
  • Do you have a limiting mindset or do you embrace limitless possibilities?
  • What steps will lead you to embrace abundance in your life?

  1. Are there more qualities of the river to learn?

You can learn as many qualities of the river in your life as you can observe. It depends on you and what signals you catch from rivers. For example, rivers are flexible, they show continuous growth, determination, and resilience – qualities that can also be in your life. The river is a lifetime mentor for me, and I keep learning every day.

  1. Does embracing one river quality in my life attract others?

Yes, embracing one river quality often leads to cultivating others. For example, practicing persistence can inspire self-reliance and flow. Improving one aspect can lead to growth in other areas, enhancing both personal development and well-being. This journey of self-discovery and improvement builds upon each quality, bringing balance to our lives.

  1. Should I walk by the riverside to practice these qualities in my life?

Why not, if you wish?

Walking is not the point; the point is to connect with and appreciate the river’s beauty, and be open to its lessons.

Sit by the riverbank and observe its flow through mountains and plains to embrace its qualities. Pursue whatever inspires you to learn from the river. Regularly observe to unlock its lessons in your life, fostering reflection and introspection.

Accessing an effortlessly simple life is within reach, which you can achieve when you fully prepare. Practicing these qualities of the river is the key to opening the possibilities of a simple life.

The bubbles in the river appear and disappear quickly. Our life is like a bubble, soon to vanish. Everything in a river changes, forever flowing. Our life flows similarly. Nothing stays the same, so why cling to grudges, wealth, relationships, or situations? Let it flow to stay vibrant and experience life’s abundance and limitless possibilities.

Share your experience or give us feedback if you’ve learned from these qualities of the river.

Kindly let me know if you have any other topics suggestions or questions for future articles.

Deepak Ashwani is grateful to experience life’s mysteries and shares his learnings through various channels.


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3 Comments

  1. Could read on & on & on.. beautifully penned down

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