Reservoirs and rivers are overflowing as storms have pounded California this winter, and after years of drought that should be good news. The problem is that misguided environmentalism is wasting the water windfall and failing to store it for a non-rainy day.
In 1861, farmers and ranchers were praying for rain after two exceptionally dry decades. In December their prayers were answered with a vengeance, as a series of monstrous Pacific storms slammed—one after another—into the West coast of North America, from Mexico to Canada.
Similarly in 2016-17, we have had similar bountiful rainfall.
But according to a recent WSJ article, despite the record rainfall most of the water has been wasted:
Overflowing is a great word to describe the amount of spiritual wisdom available these days. Writing in several journals and magazines focuses on spirituality, more translations and literature are available than there ever was in human history, video content is available mostly for free on youtube, and information is available very easily through the internet. Spiritual knowledge is overflowing to put it mildly. But, are we retaining any of this knowledge? Are we putting any of this to use? We are mostly losing it to a run-off. Spiritual knowledge enters through one ear and exits from the other. Because we have not built dams in our minds, most of the spiritual knowledge is running off. It is being wasted.
This reminds me of a couplet from Guru Nanak:
ਕੁੰਭੇ ਬਧਾ ਜਲੁ ਰਹੈ ਜਲ ਬਿਨੁ ਕੁੰਭੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥
ਗਿਆਨ ਕਾ ਬਧਾ ਮਨੁ ਰਹੈ ਗੁਰ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਹੋਇ ॥੫॥:
Kumbhe badhaa jalu rahai jal bin kumbh n hoi.
Giaan ka badhaa manu rahai gur bin giaanu n hoi ||5||:
As the water remains confined in a pitcher, (just so) the mind is restrained by the Spiritual Wisdom. But (as) the pitcher cannot be shaped without the water, (just so) there can be no Spiritual Wisdom without the Guru. ||5|| (SGGS 469).
I’m also reminded of what Paramhansa Yogananda said about the control of the mind:
You may control a mad elephant;
You may shut the mouth of the bear and the tiger;
Ride the lion and play with the cobra;
By alchemy you may learn your livelihood;
You may wander through the universe incognito;
Make vassals of the gods; be ever youthful;
You may walk in water and live in fire;
But control of the mind is better and more difficult.
– Paramahansa Yogananda
Autobiography of a Yogi