You Are a River

The most profound question we ask in this life is: who am I? The answer to that question will influence many of your decisions, including how you live your life.

Most of us believe we’re not a thing. We’re not just flesh responding to stimuli. However, some of us believe we are psychological beings who are responding to stimuli.

Many of us believe we are a conglomeration of our roles: a child, a parent, a business owner, a teacher, a sibling. How we perform these roles helps determine who we are: I am a good child, a caring parent, and so forth. This can be played out negatively as well: I am addicted, I am dishonest.

Ultimately, the role-based view of ourselves is unsatisfying – not as unsatisfying as believing we’re just a thing, but unsatisfying nonetheless. Many solve this problem by associating with a belief system: I am a practicing Catholic. I am Mormon, Buddhist, or simply I am spiritual.

I have seen friends reach a state of honest bafflement with the question. “I don’t know who I am,” is an amazing and refreshing statement. It acknowledges that roles and religious affiliation are not sufficient to explain who we are.

I think we’re a river.

The river is not the water that it contains. That water passes or evaporates. At some point the water is no longer a river.

The river is not the river bed or the banks. The bed and the banks are simply the scar the river makes on the earth as it passes.

The river is not its behavior. Some rivers are rough, some are calm, and some are frozen much of the time. Most rivers change their behavior by seasons or by weather.

The river is not its water, the river is not its bed or banks, the river is not even its behavior. Yet there is still something we all recognize as a river. We even name our rivers. We recognize there is something there, even if we can’t say what it is.

I think we’re a river.

The river simply is, just as I simply am.


7 thoughts on “You Are a River

  1. An interesting viewpoint and certainly well put together. I know we can agree to disagree 🙂 I do appreciate your post since it has made me stop and think and this is always a great thing. Thank you.
    Blessings, Susan x

  2. Hi,

    Thank you for sharing your impressionistic thoughts. I admire everyone who feels comfortable wearing their heart on their sleeve.

    You have an ability to play confidently and honestly with descriptive visual imagery. I’ve enjoyed reading back through your recent posts and walking your journey with you. There is a near-dreaminess to the voyage you embarked upon, a flow of shifting thoughts and unfathomable forms, and in-between where the inky shadows once hid beneath the draped veil so now the translucent tones of pastel shades leak out through cracks to stretch across the floor. The vision of your world has changed so much since setting foot outside your door. The anguish of gnawing uncertainty, the discomfort of temporal displacement, the battle of acceptance and the psychological blossoming that comes with spiritual enlightenment, all are there and now left behind in your words as testament to the emergence of you. You have given voice to a heart that’s always longed to be heard. It has been a revelation and an inspiring voyage to self-determination.

    I am left with the impression that you’ve broken the chains that have held you in bondage and are now reaching upwards to grasp at a point beyond the stars. All life flows as the river flows, and you now know that no man can ever set foot in the same river twice. There is about you a wonderful sense of peace and a buoyancy in your soul. So perhaps all that is left for you to do now is teach yourself how to fly 🙂

    I have but one question for you… Did the force that brought forth Man do so to enable it to look out upon the wonder and sumptuous beauty of its creation through its own eyes?


    DN – 28/03/14

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s