The River of Wisdom

©Jack Anstey — Unsplash

Record of a dream I had more than a year ago.

I met her at the top of the hill. After years of wading and swimming in small tributary streams, through crystal clear waters not too deep, springing from the heart of the earth, I arrived at the cliff. These abundant freshwater brooks run free down the slopes, nourishing the banks and being embraced by the trees. This young, sweet water has some haste to get past the rocks, and its path merges with the place, irrigating the ground, satiating plants and animals. It is water that eventually reaches the long River, with all the impetus and freshness of the depths, contemplating the clouds and the sky in its brief freedom, along a fleeting but tranquil path.

When I reached the top of the hill, she was already waiting for me, the nameless Elder, the mentor of not knowing. From up here on the rocks, the landscape was diverse. You could see the tributaries and the main River where they merged, in a living aquatic network as far as the eye could see, with the central body of water being fed from all directions. She asked me if I was ready, in fear, I answered no, I was not. After years of circling the small rivers that fed this incredible wild flow, I was now curious to uncover and be led through this great River, but the fear, oh, the fear. Its name is River of Wisdom, the Elder told me. I am apprehensive about the change of scale of this River with such a vast course. I don’t see its depths, and its flow is inexorably stronger. I feel it drawing me in and dragging me along, but I resist.

There is no map of this River, and its powerful currents of living water have no end — it is eternal and infinite. This River does not dream of the sea, but it dreams and recreates itself. It moves and transforms itself at every moment, through every curve and passage, a stream of wild consciounesss.

Its water, made of pure wisdom, has a soft texture, almost as if it could be grasped and contained in the hands or mind. Don’t drink it, she warned me, pass it over your lips and nothing more. Don’t dive in, she continued, the total ecstasy of knowing everything will not make you wiser, but mad, dragging you back to the abyss of original chaos. Sail without knowing the way, following the current with the waves licking your hull, running your hands over the water, feeling its texture and cool temperature, she tells me as she pushes the boat away and bids me farewell. These waters quench everything, she shouts from the shore. The last words I hear…Everything!

I step back and surrender to the current. These are waters of memories, currents of knowledge, and flows of consciousness. Their enigmas flood and transform me. But like water that fills and empties, so is its presence.

In this mysterious ancestral flow are submerged all the dreams, all the why's, all the conclusions, and feelings, in every one of their dimensions and nuances. In all flavors, smells, and textures. This ancient living water being awakens the senses, alchemically opening the heart and mind.
Here there are no certainties, no categories, no storage. Looking through the deep water, I feel its powerful authority and can discern the fear that travels with me — the fear of not knowing, not containing, or controlling.

The eternal, wild flow of this water being carries everything. It releases it all, giving way to possibilities that emerge from the spontaneity of Life itself — revealed in the surprising moments of ecstasy and connection, among iridescent drops that splash through me.
All the multiple landscapes through which it passes pulsate and surrender to this vigorous River. In turn, the waters also offer themselves at every moment to every place, bringing with them the abundance of reciprocity. I can only capitulate to the intensity of this ancestral dialogue, of which I only hear echoes and fragments and allow myself to be carried by the River of Wisdom.

This ancient River being is the main body where all the tributaries converge, the path of chimerical uniqueness that aggregates all our singular facets and missions. It does not send you on a tranquil journey but an intense and wholesome adventure of Life.

I surrender myself to the pilgrimage on the great River of Wisdom, the River without a map that never reaches the sea. I serve and belong to it.

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[Disclaimer: all these words and weaved concepts are birthed through my lived, biased, and always limited perception of things, not supposing to bring any absolute truth.]

By Sofia Batalha
Mammal, author, woman-mother, question weaver and dismantling global-colonial-technological-capitalism one day at a time. Awkward prose-poet with no grammatical knowledge. Pilgrim through inner and outer landscapes, remembering ancient earth practices, in radical presence, active listening, ecopsychology, art, ecstasy, and writing. Author of seven books, editor of the free online magazine, Wind and Water, Re-member the Bones Podcast, and Beyond the Sea Conversations — all in Portuguese.
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Sofia Batalha

Sofia Batalha

Journeying 🌿 between inner and outer landscapes, remembering ancient earth practices, radical presence, active listening, ecopsychology, art and writing.