Last night my 4-year-old filled an ice tray and put it in the freezer.
He gave me stern directions to not place anything on top of his carefully situated experiment. He was really excited this morning to see how the water transformed, and he asked me to help him remove the cubes from the tray. I did, and he set them on top of his plastic toy bin.
We spent the remainder of the morning outside playing, and when we returned, he demanded, “What did you do with my ice?” I took his hand and walked with him over to the toy bin. I showed him the puddle of water and said, “This is your ice. When it’s not in the freezer, it melts, and becomes water again.”
I was clearly talking about ice, but I felt like I was talking about something more, too. Something deeper.
We often look to nature for truth, and my impromptu lesson on the states of water revealed just that. I thought about how solid and liquid aren’t the only forms of water, but it exists as vapor, too. It’s all around us even though it can’t be seen. The vapors attach to air particles and manifest into raindrops and snowflakes. They make up the oceans, clouds, and us.
Like vapors, our soul can’t be seen, but manifests itself into who we currently are. Just like a raindrop is an individual part of the water cycle, we too are unique parts of the whole of humanity and consciousness itself.
I was simply talking about water changing from solid to liquid with my 4-year-old, but I was really thinking about who I am, and how, like water, I’m constantly changing, yet essentially remaining the same. My body has grown a lot since I was a baby. There’s no doubt that my face and skin are different than they used to be, and one day my body will die and decay. Even when the form of something changes, its essence is the same.
Water exists as an invisible form, and we must, too. How can we not believe in that which can’t be seen? We believe in H2O, don’t we? We see it come into form as water and ice, just like we see souls come into form as you and me.
This realization gave me a sense of peace, for it made me realize that believing in more than meets the eye is actually a scientific reality. It also helped me make better sense of the Buddhist notion of non-attachment.
Attachment surely is futile in a physical world of constant change. I used to find this disheartening, but now I see that things come and go in physical form, but stay steady in another realm beyond words and labels. Our bodies, relationships, emotions, and so on are never the exact same from one moment to the next, but we are so much more than our bodies. They are merely temporary housing for our souls, which are steadfast and eternal.
Because we are more, we should strive everyday to get in touch with that part of ourselves that is changeless. It’s not easy, because, like vapor, we can’t see it. We can however, stop defining ourselves by our jobs, our status, our nationality, and race. Although health and fitness are important, we’re not our six packs or biceps. We’re not our hair-do’s and fashion styles. We’re not our problems or views. How liberating this realization actually is!
We are that content feeling of joy for simply being. We are that true voice we hear in quiet meditation. We are our purpose. We are love. Like snowflakes, we are unique, yet the same.
Like water, we change, yet remain.
Author: Amanda Elder
Editor: Katarina Tavčar; Nicole Cameron