Posted: October 26, 2020 in: Personal Empowerment, Pain-2-Power


Bruce Lee, the late martial artist and philosopher, had wonderful advice for how to live powerfully in any set of circumstances.  He said:

You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.

Lee did not mean that one should yield to circumstances and give up oneSELF.  Quite the opposite.  He meant that, despite any adversity, one’s core, essential nature—one’s soul and true beliefs—should not and need not change.  Water doesn’t cease being water when it fills a cup or runs as a river.  It is not bruised or broken by the vessel that it sits in or moves within.  It can flow down a mountain, over jagged rocks, be frozen into a solid or boiled into a vapor, all while remaining H2O.

Life pours us into one situation after another that can seem as though they will cut us so deeply that our souls will bleed out.  We can encounter circumstances that we think could break us and forever change the core, fundamental nature of who we are, what we believe and how we love.  But we should remind ourselves that the way through these situations and circumstances is over and around and through them, without giving up our ideals or truth.  We can be like water.

YO2U can be like water.

Does being like water mean we never need to fight back when assaulted.  No.  It means that when we fight, we fight with the certain knowledge that we are doing so based on our essential essence and that nothing can defeat us—elementally.  Lose a battle, even lose a war, yet remained unchanged at core, and you are not truly vanquished.  You are victorious.  You will find your way.  Water even wears away rock, over time.  Think, Gandhi.

This, of course, is but an introduction to Bruce Lee’s powerful philosophies.  For more, check out Lee’s writings in the book Artist of Life and his daughter’s Be Water My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee, written by his daughter Shannon Lee.

Dr. Keith Ablow


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