Being near or immersed in water offers the opportunity to set an intention of cleansing on all levels.
We are born from a watery substance, and our bodies are mostly made of water. It’s no wonder, then, that we are drawn to water in all of its forms. Wallace J. Nichols, author of Blue Mind, has studied the effects of water, especially wild water, or water found in nature, on our brains. “Blue mind can be defined as a mildly meditative state characterized by calmness, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.”
Water is clearly used for cleaning; we wash our hands with soap and water to stay healthy and we wash our bodies at the end of the day to get clean. Water is also used for spiritual purification across many cultures and around the planet. The difference is in our intention. Creating a ritual is a way to turn a “to-do” into an “I get to do.”
Being near or immersed in wild water gives the opportunity to set an intention of cleansing on all levels. Here are three rituals involving three kinds of wild water you might consider if you are feeling stuck or run-down:
- Ocean. If you are near the coast, begin by getting your feet in the sand. Spread your toes and feel the texture of the sand slipping through them. Inhale the salt in the air. The negative ions that are emitted from the waves crashing on the shore have been shown to have a calming effect on our nervous system and an uplifting effect on your mood. If you are up for getting in the water, think of something you are ready to release, and as you dive into the salty waters, imagine the water releasing what is ready to go. Feel the tingling of your skin as it is meets the cool ocean water. As your emerge, notice how you feel lighter, perhaps more free. Take that feeling with you into your day.
- Streams and Rivers. Water that travels down streams bounces from rock to rock, swirls in eddies, and meanders around curves. Begin by sitting on the shore, closing your eyes, and listening to the sound of the water as it dances along its course. Open your eyes and look around for piles of rocks. Find an area where you have a good amount to choose from. Begin creating a stack of rocks, intentionally placing each one so that it sits evenly on the one beneath it. Notice how trying to force a stone to fit, no matter how “perfect” it appears to be, does not work for long, and can cause the entire stack to topple over. You can choose to create with an empty mind, turning the activity into a meditation on balance, or you can say a silent prayer as you place each stone.
- Waterfalls. The cascading, tumbling action of water off a precipice, dropping to rocks below is one of most delightful wonders of nature. If you ever been hiking, and rounded the corner to discover a powerful waterfall in front of you, you know the feeling. If you haven't look for the chance to. Begin by closing your eyes and invoking all of your curiosity. Notice what senses are enlivened by the waterfall. Is it the thunderous sound of the never-ending water crashing on the rocks? The delicate sensation of the mist as it caresses your skin? Or the sweet, nearly imperceptible, activation of your olfactory sense—the smell of a waterfall that is as much about the sensation as it is about the scent. Let yourself be fully immersed in these subtler senses and then open your eyes, drinking in the grandeur of the waterfall. Let your eyes follow a drop of water from the very top until it merges with all the drops below.
Looking for more water in your life? Consider these seaside retreats.