Ever feel like time is slipping through your fingers? Like the days and weeks are rushing by in the blink of an eye? You’re not alone. Our lives move fast, really fast. Between work, family, chores, errands, and trying to squeeze in a social life, it can feel like we’re riding a raging river without a paddle. Before we know it, another month has disappeared and we’re left wondering where it all went.
The truth is, we can’t slow the current of time. It keeps flowing whether we like it or not. But we can get better at living in the moment and finding meaning in the everyday. We can open our eyes to the beauty and lessons that each day has to offer. We can strengthen our grip on the things that really matter so we’re not just being pulled along for the ride. It’s time to stop drifting and start navigating. Join me as we explore ways to better understand, appreciate, and keep up with that which flows by. The river may be raging, but together we’ll learn to ride the rapids.
The Meaning of “That Which Flows By”
The phrase “that which flows by” refers to the constant change and impermanence in life. Nothing stays the same, everything is in a state of flux. The river flows steadily by, never the same river twice – much like life itself.
To grasp “that which flows by” is to understand this truth of impermanence and live in the present moment. The past is gone, the future yet unwritten. All we have is now. Pay close attention to the little details in each moment before they slip through your fingers, never to return again.
Some ways to cultivate this awareness include:
- Spend time in nature. Notice the subtle and constant changes – the breeze moving the leaves, the sunlight dancing on the water, the sounds that come and go.
- Slow down and be fully present in your daily activities. Savor the taste of each bite of food, listen closely to the words being spoken, feel the warmth of a hug. These moments will not come again.
- Reflect on how much has changed in your own life. Your interests, your relationships, your location, your desires and dreams – all in flux. Nothing stays the same, so embrace the changes.
- Spend less time dwelling on past regrets or worrying about the uncertain future. Shift your focus to the present – your breath, your senses, your immediate experience. Find the calm in the chaos.
To grasp “that which flows by” is to accept life as a series of fleeting moments. Pay close attention so you can fully live while you’re alive. The river of life will continue flowing, the question is whether you will flow with it.
Impermanence and Change as That Which Flows By
Everything in life is impermanent and constantly changing – that’s simply the nature of reality. The cells in our body are continuously dying and being reborn. Our thoughts and feelings, the weather, seasons, life circumstances, and relationships are always flowing and evolving.
Accepting impermanence, rather than resisting it, leads to greater peace and contentment. When we cling to things, people, and situations, expecting them not to change, it inevitably leads to suffering.
- Appreciate each moment. Live in the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Savor the beauty in each fleeting experience.
- Value relationships. Cherish the people in your life, while understanding that both relationships and people change. Express your gratitude and affection often.
- Take care of yourself. Your health, energy levels, and circumstances will change. Exercise self-care so you can adapt to life’s inevitable ups and downs. Stay flexible and maintain your sense of humor.
- Pursue meaningful goals. While material possessions and life circumstances change, the impact we have on others can endure. Focus on things that really matter like personal growth, relationships, and contributing value to the world.
Impermanence reminds us that nothing lasts forever. But when we learn to flow with the changes rather than resisting them, we discover a deeper meaning and richness in each moment. Every experience, no matter how fleeting, becomes an opportunity to learn and grow. And in that growth we find a kind of permanence.
Letting Go and Accepting That Which Flows By
Accepting the impermanence of life can be difficult, but it allows us to grasp what flows by each day. When we cling too tightly to people, experiences, and material things, we suffer. Letting go is the path to peace.
- Realize that everything changes. The nature of the universe is constant transformation. Relationships evolve, careers shift, possessions break or become obsolete. Embrace change rather than resisting it.
- Practice mindfulness. Spend time each day being fully present and aware of yourself and your surroundings. Appreciate simple pleasures and moments of beauty. This helps you focus on the present rather than clinging to the past or worrying about the future.
- Limit attachments and live simply. Don’t be defined by status, career, relationships or possessions. While enjoying life’s experiences, maintain a degree of detachment. Let go of excess clutter and busyness. Simplify.
- Accept loss and impermanence. When change happens, allow yourself to fully grieve, then work to release the attachment. Know that loss is a natural part of life, and you will heal. What we have once lost remains part of us, shaping who we become.
- Find meaning through growth and contribution. Rather than grasping for purpose through external achievement, focus on personal growth and making a positive difference each day. Help and be kind to others. This provides a sense of meaning not subject to impermanence.
- Practice self-care. Exercise, eat healthy, engage in hobbies and socialize. Take a balanced approach to life’s demands and maintain your equilibrium. Your ability to navigate change depends on your own wellbeing and resilience.
Though we can’t escape change, we can choose to flow with life rather than fighting the current. Letting go allows us to open our hands and hearts, grasp each moment, and find meaning in what flows by.
Mindfulness and Living in the Present Moment
Living in the present moment, embracing the flow of now, is a skill that takes practice. Our minds are wired to dwell on the past and worry about the future, but true mindfulness means focusing your awareness on the current moment.
The pace of modern life moves fast, but you can choose to slow down. Take a walk and notice the details in your surroundings. Savor each bite of your food. Listen to music without doing anything else at the same time. Take some deep breaths and tune into the present sensations in your body.
Put down your phone and limit notifications on your devices. Minimize multitasking and focus on one thing at a time. Find ways each day to do nothing at all – just sit and be still. Let your mind rest. The more you make time for quiet contemplation, the more you strengthen your ability to be fully present.
Observe Your Thoughts
Your thoughts will wander, and that’s OK. Gently bring your focus back to the present moment. Notice your thoughts and emotions, but don’t judge them. See them as passing clouds, there one moment and gone the next. Your thoughts and feelings do not define you. With practice, the space between your thoughts will expand, and you’ll achieve a calm, centered state of being.
Don’t aim for constant mindfulness right away. Start with just 5 or 10 minutes a day of dedicated focus on your breathing or the simple pleasures in your daily routine. Set a timer if it helps. As this habit becomes more natural, you’ll find yourself living in the moment more often, and reaping the many benefits that come with it like lower stress, improved concentration, and deeper contentment.
The flow of life moves swiftly, so make the choice to grasp the current moments as often as you can. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
Practicing Non-Attachment to That Which Flows By
To understand that which flows by, you must practice non-attachment. This means observing the impermanence of all things without clinging to them. All phenomena are fleeting – feelings, thoughts, experiences, material possessions, relationships. Nothing lasts forever.
Pay close attention to the transient nature of your experiences. Notice how your emotions and thoughts are constantly changing. See how the cells in your body are dying and regenerating. Observe how the seasons transition and the days pass. Appreciate the beauty in each moment as it arises and passes.
Do Not Cling
It is human nature to grasp onto that which we find pleasant and push away that which we find unpleasant. But clinging leads to suffering. Do not cling to positive emotions, material goods, relationships or anything outside of your control. While enjoying them, hold them lightly. Be willing to let them go when the time comes.
Find Inner Peace
True peace and contentment cannot be found in anything external. Look within to find your center. Connect with the part of you that remains unchanged by the turbulence of life. Your eternal essence – pure awareness, consciousness, spirit. Abide in the silent space between your thoughts and experience profound peace.
Cultivate an attitude of generosity. Be willing to share your time, skills, wisdom, possessions and love freely with others. Helping those in need fosters compassion and reinforces your understanding of impermanence and non-attachment. What you give away you keep, and what you keep you lose.
Flowing through life with non-attachment leads to serenity, wisdom and bliss. Observe, do not cling, find your inner peace and practice generosity. These principles will help you grasp the current and understand that which flows by.
So you see, understanding the current isn’t about trying to hold onto what’s fleeting or capture each moment as it whizzes by. It’s about realizing that the flow itself is what matters. The present is a moving target, always just out of reach, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience it fully. Let go of the need to grasp and cling. Open your senses, dip into the stream, and let it wash over you. Feel the vitality and freshness of each instant as it happens. The current keeps flowing, whether you’re paying attention or not. But when you do tune in, you realize you’re alive and a part of the flow. You understand at last that the only thing you can hold onto is the fact that nothing stays the same. And that’s okay. The flow itself is enough.