I once stood under a freezing waterfall in the mountains of Japan. In the middle of winter.

And believe it or not I wasn’t out there alone. There were others. This was a thing.

It’s an ascetic practice called “takigyo” or “waterfall meditation” and it holds the purpose of purifying and strengthening one’s mind and body. Standing directly under the path of the heavy and unimaginably cold water, I could hardly catch my breath.

I was suffering. My mind was racing. I wanted out. I was REACTING to the thoughts and the sensations that were showing up in my circumstance. I was, in effect, FIGHTING the waterfall. But that wasn’t helping. So I tried a more novel approach.

I let go.

I surrendered.

I gave up the fight.

And the moment I did, I found a profound peace and calm amidst the chaos. I befriended the waterfall, and the cold, and the pain. I came to see that there was, in fact, never any war. And in that moment I noticed that I could just let the water crash over me.

Perhaps you are also experiencing some level of discomfort or suffering due to the COVID pandemic. Perhaps you are also fighting a war. But you may consider a new approach. You may consider simply letting these circumstances…wash over you.

Like a waterfall.

By Ryan Paugh

Hi there!

With decades spent exploring the outer world and the inner world, I share some of the insights I have learned along the way.

Topics include mindfulness, spirituality, growth, perspective, and career.

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