There's a reason why water is such a prominent feature in meditation spaces. It is essential to life - some even see it as the life force. Where there is water, there is life. We know that instinctively, and we feel it deep down in our subconscious - we are soothed by water, awed by it, inexplicably drawn to it. Have you ever noticed that the most populated areas of most countries are near the coasts?
Try using water within your meditation practice. Because it is so simple, so essential, so common, it is an effective muse for a number of meditative paths. If you don't live near a body of water, make do with fountains, pools or even puddles.
Still, calm, placid water is a traditional component of meditation gardens. The unmoving surface reflects all that's around it, so use it to help you reflect as you journey inward. Look at the reflection of the sky, surrounding vegetation, even yourself; see how though the subject is the same, the image is slightly altered from reality. Watch how the nature of the water - clean, dirty, mineral, clear - affects the colors of the reflection. See how the color of the sky that day reflects and affects the color of the water. Think about how change happens in your life, and how events and circumstances reflect one another.
Now toss a pebble into that still water and watch the ripples spread across the surface. Look for a gust of wind to send ripples the other way, and watch as they collide. See what happens as they first crash, then merge into a greater force. Use this as a metaphor for how your actions, your moods, your disposition affects those around you.
Think about your day - did you smile and thank a cashier? You may have brightened her mood, and she may have smiled more warmly at the next customer. That person may have gone home and felt cheerful enough to play with his kids. Those kids had a great night, and went to school in an awesome mood the next day, engaging the children around them. Ripples don't happen in a linear fashion - they spread until they affect the whole.
Sit next to a stream and watch the gentle flow of the current. Notice how grasses and rocks remain stationary, but are still affected by the flow in tiny ways. Grasses may bend slightly, but reap nourishment from the water. Rocks may not move, but are slowly and continuously eroded and shaped by the constant flow.
Think about your own place in the hustle and bustle of life. Consider ways in which you are affected by the ripples of those around you. See how you can remain stationary beside the flow without being left behind - after all, something new is always right around the corner, and sometimes it comes to you.
The power of a crushing waterfall or a raging current is an awesome spectacle. It reminds us of the incredible power of nature and the frailty of the human body. Close your eyes and hear the thunderous sounds. Open your eyes and watch the unrelenting speed and uncompromising direction. Feel the spray on your skin.
Use this experience to think about how sometimes you just need to go with the flow or risk getting swept under. Think about how you could rush over or around obstacles rather than get caught up behind them. In what ways is your life like a strong current?
Yes, water is magic to the subconscious. It represents fertility, nourishment and feminine energy. Let it be a part of your journey of self - it may even carry you to your destination.