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extending 'Mind Like Water'

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  • extending 'Mind Like Water'

    The image I hear in GTD is 'mind like water'. What it evokes in me is a state of receptiveness -- being so in tune with your environment that you accept and adapt to whatever comes your way.

    But, to get a difficult job done, seems like a better image might be 'mind like fire hose' -- this evokes a picture of sharply-focused intent and effort -- although there is still water involved, that water is moving so fast and is focused so narrowly that it is not really all that receptive.

    And then, of course, if both these images are appropriate in their particular times, how can you most easily move back and forth between these two states?

    My thought for the morning.


  • #2

    A professor once introduced me to some concepts about water when referring to Taoism. I do not have the quote, but here is one I found that is similar:

    "Water is formless and so, moves effortlessly around obstacles to its destination. Water is soft and yet is able to carve through stone. Water is patient and takes its time, so when it does carve through stone, the marks it leaves are smooth and natural."

    I've heard DA refer to "mind like water" from the perspective of water reacting to whatever input it gets (whether pebble or boulder) exactly in proportion to the input, then returns to calm.

    I will likewise extend: while there are waves in the water, it is difficult to see to the bottom. How often do we try to peer into our own depths when our minds are turbulent?


    • #3
      I am thinking 'mind like water' is good for much of the time. But, to extend the martial arts metaphor, if, with your mind like water, you decide it is appropriate to strike a board hard enough to break it, there is intense sharply-focused force involved, and this effort is not much like water.

      In a standard day, seems like I encounter a few "boards" that require that require such intense sharply-focused effort. It would be great to have a metaphor for it.

      There was a boxer who said "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee", which kind of captures 'mind like water' and 'initiate with vigor'.

      So, my wondering -- what is the complete metaphor for 'getting things done' -- 'mind like water' is only part of it.


      • #4
        mind like water

        FWIW, I used to cut concrete and asphalt with water. A focused stream of water, of proper intensity, and in conjunction with the proper tools that magnify its focus and intensity, can definitely break boards or cut holes in steel, or slice stone. Water can be a "liquid laser" in that regard.

        Maybe "mind like water" works even in this case after all.