Sometimes I take students in my philosophy classes down to the river to sit in the meditation circle they helped to create. All I ask them to do is stop, look, and listen to the river nearby and say what wisdom it offers them.
It takes a few minutes of silence before one student has the courage to respond, and then another. They seem to know to pause between each utterance to let the words sink in. Here are some of the things they have learned about how best to live (ethics)from this experience:
1. The river flows. So should we.
2. The river has many sources and ends up in many places, just as the universe.
3. Listening to the river no words are necessary to feel at peace.
4. Obstacles don’t deter the river’s progress.
5. Water is the source of all life and we are but a part of that.
6. Rivers have many purposes, not one–you can swim or boat in them or use them to water crops.
7. You can’t step in the river twice.
8. Rivers flow into the lake or ocean; they are interconnected to all of life.
9. If we are careless with our resources, we can pollute the river.
10. No river creates itself; it comes from the sky, goes into the earth, and returns again.