Apart from stocking up on wet wipes, using dry shampoo and taking two-minute showers, there's a lot more you can do towards saving water. Here's a handy guide to honouring nature's essential resource.
Water is life; essential, mysterious and sacred. Without it, life would not exist on our planet. In times of drought, we don't only suffer economically and ecologically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
The human spirit responds to the percussion and rhythmic sound of rainfall, and thunder awakens a raw, primal energy within us. Water is associated with emotion, evoking responses in us when it falls over our homes and our bodies; and it also relates strongly to intuition, instincts, and psychic sensitivity.
In moderate amounts, rain soothes and gently cleanses, renewing the land, and our spirits with it. In greater quantity, it carries away the weak and extraneous and soaks into the earth to fortify and renew the life it sustains.
Water has long been associated with the magical, the mysterious and the divine. From hydropathic cures and temperance reform to the modern spa, sacred springs and holy wells. Apart from its essential biological role for sustaining life, water also has important spiritual, cultural, and religious meanings for many people around the world.
Water is a feminine energy and highly connected with the aspects of the Goddess. Used for healing, cleansing, and purification, water is related to the West, and associated with passion and emotion.
Many cultures feature water spirits as part of their folklore and mythology. To the Greeks, a water spirit known as a naiad often presided over a spring or stream. The Romans had a similar entity found in the Camenae. Among a number of the ethnic groups of Cameroon, the water spirits called jengu serve as protective deities, which is not uncommon among other African diasporic faiths. In Judaism and Christianity from the earliest times, the immersion ritual and baptism were symbols of regeneration and purity, a way of finding unity with original perfection, and God. Muslims ritually bathe before each set of prayers; these rites vary from tropical places with plentiful supplies of water, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, to a near-symbolic anointing in the deserts of the Middle East and Central Asia, and Hindus bathe in the waters of the River Ganges, in northern India.
For centuries, the long-lived Hopi people of the American Southwest have used their scarce water as sparingly as birds sipping at a pool, transferring rinse water among cooking pots and bowls to lengthen the time of its use. To the Hopi, water reverence renders the people both humbled and blessed, reflecting back on their lives in a liquid version of karma. The sacred use of water is key to one's experience of a life well lived.
More recently, through the 1990's, Dr. Masaru Emoto performed a series of experiments observing the physical effect of words, prayers, music and environment on the crystalline structure of water. In his years of water research, through high speed photography of thousands of water crystals, Dr Emoto has shown the most beautiful crystals are those formed after the water is exposed to the words 'love and gratitude'.
The fact that the human body is made primarily of water, our thoughts can have profound implications on our health and the well-being of the planet. In understanding the spiritual, emotional and religious qualities of water, it begs the question - what can be said about our current water crisis situation? Is there a more symbolic reason we are experiencing this significant drought? How can we use this time to better honour this sacred life force?
WHEN IN DROUGHT
Right now, much of our country is unsettled, afraid, angry and restless for many important reasons. We can make radical positive changes by working with water in every aspect of our lives. If we interpret the current water crisis as an indication of where we stand as a society, we begin to see that we're also in a spiritual drought. Those who choose to view the awareness as a gift are joined in a journey worth making for its own sake. In this way, water is a great teacher. We can gain peace and balance when using it with reverence.
Spiritual drought can be understood as a form of spiritual crisis experienced subjectively as a sense of separation from God and nature, or a state of feeling depleted or empty. If left unattended, spiritual drought can impact our emotional, mental, and even physical state.
Spiritual nourishment flows out of an intimate relationship with God and nature; both so deeply connected to water. When we talk about the conservative use of water, it's generally only in times of little rain, and then just when regulated. What's really needed is a soul shift, the recognition that water is no different from our bodies, ourselves.
In this way, water is a great teacher. We can gain peace and balance when using it with reverence. AN HONOURING RITUAL
This time of drought can be a bountiful gift if we choose to honour and celebrate the brilliant power of water, practising love and gratitude through the process. Here are a few ways in which we can honour this sacred liquid:
1. Drink and use fresh water with mindfulness
Give water your deepest respect. When you take a sip of water, try to be completely present. Steal yourself away from your laptop or phone and sit in quiet contemplation as you take each nourishing sip into your body. Is this water cold or warm? What does the water taste like; is it salty, sweet or slightly bitter? After you drink the water, do any sensations arise in your body; do you feel cooler, refreshed, or nourished? How does it feel when it enters your mouth, rolling down your throat and splashing into your stomach?
2. Remember a time when water moved you
Share a story with family or friends, or write in your journal, about a time when you were humbled, soothed, or awed by a body of water. Were you standing on the shores of a great ocean, showering under a mountain stream or enjoying the tranquillity of a still lake? How did you feel connected to nature?
3. Bless your water
Intention, thought and feeling are the most powerful ways to honour water. Imagine light and positive thoughts flowing into the water. You can place your hands around a glass of water and imagine love flowing from your heart, down your arms and out of your hands into the water. You can also use sound to bless the water; simply sing lovingly to it, or chant a sacred mantra, or play beautiful music you resonate to it. Any time you pass water 'a lake, a stream, your glass of water on the table, an ocean, send your love and gratitude to that water.
4. Ocean Salutation
This affirmation and movement sequence is perfect to practice near your favourite body of water. It's basically the movements of a half sun salutation. Lifting your heart and reaching arms upward, affirm 'I am open to receive!' Exhale and fold forward into Uttanasana (standing forward pose), affirming 'I trust myself.' Ground your hands on your legs or the floor and lift your spine toward the horizon into Ardha Uttanasana (half bend) affirming 'I follow my dreams.' Fold back into Uttanasana (standing forward pose), with the affirmation 'I flow like water.' Now back to up-stretched arms, again affirming 'I am open to receive.'
5. Understand which river or well feeds your pipes
If you know where your water comes from, you also know that much of it is also needed by fish and birds and other wildlife at the source. What starts on glaciated peaks, ends up in pipes. The water in those beautiful places, where waterfowl and fish live, also is used for drinking water and irrigation somewhere downstream. What a different world it would be if we always, always, kept the wild river or mountain lake water sources in our hearts.
SEVEN ESSENTIAL WATER SAVING TIPS
* Use municipal drinking water only for essential washing, cooking and drinking purposes, and only use indoors.
* Check and fix all leaks on your property.
* Only flush the toilet when absolutely necessary.
* Take very short stop-start showers. Wet your body, turn off the tap, soap, then rinse quickly. Collect your shower, bath and basin water and reuse it to flush your toilet.
* Wait for a full load before running washing machines and dishwashers. The rinse water from some washing machines can be reused for the next wash cycle.
* Use a cup instead of running taps in the bathroom or kitchen when brushing teeth, shaving, drinking, etc.
* Defrost food in the fridge or naturally, rather than placing it under running water.
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