In a previous post I described the Future World exhibit at the Art and Science Museum.
Its centerpiece is the “Universe of Water Particles” – a seven-meter virtual waterfall. It is serenely beautiful, hundreds of thousands of water particles cascading gracefully down a virtual rock, following the laws of physics. And with a backpacker’s silhouette, it’s picture-perfect.
But I miss the mist, the unpredictable gust of wetness on my face as the wind blows the water away from its normal free fall. I miss the rustling of the leaves and the way my feet slide on the slippery banks. I miss the smell of decaying trees along the river, and the greenness of young shoots rushing to rise above the rocks and catch the sun.
I like my waterfall to be raw, with the water falling down in complete abandon, daring to defy the laws of physics.
I want nature’s embrace to be sensual. I want to feel its wetness.
At the Otowa Waterfall in Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, one can choose between longevity, success, and love by drinking from a stream.
The waterfall, which runs off the hills nearby, is split into three streams of “pure” water, and the tradition is that one takes a ladle and choose which stream to drink from. One does not drink from all three streams as it is considered greedy.
So which one to choose?
A 75-year Harvard study on happiness tells us that “good relationships keep us happier and healthier.” Being in a relationship where one can “really feel they can count on the other person in times of need” is good for our well-being.
If we follow this advice, the choice is obvious – we choose relationships, we choose love.
It’s a choice we can make everyday, through our actions that build warm relationships and nurture the well-being of the people we love.
Each time we do, we are taking the ladle and drinking from the stream of love at the Otowa Waterfall.
(Information about the Kiyomizu Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Otowa Waterfall, can be found here and here.)
(The TED Talk on the Harvard study on happiness can be found here.)