Every night when I put my son to bed, I sing him a few lullabies. I always end off with “Row Your Boat” as he nestles into bed with his stuffed elephant and kangaroo friends. This nursery rhyme is as much for me as it is for him, for it contains wisdom that transcends the everyday humdrum. It brings me back to a place of Truth and melts away any of the day’s tension.
Row, row, row your boat: To ROW implies action. You have to DO something, to actively participate in your life. If you were to just lie back in your boat and do nothing, your boat would go somewhere but it wouldn’t necessarily be where you want it to go and worse, you might end up crashing into a rock or being thrown overboard by a wave. Row YOUR boat, not anyone else’s boat. Live YOUR life, not anyone else’s! Do what you want and kindly be about your own business and let others be about theirs. So you’re in a BOAT, right? A boat is a vehicle to get you from A to B. It carries you, brings you across; it is not an end itself but rather a means to an end. Your work is a vehicle, your religion is a vehicle, and you are a vehicle. Even this life you’re living is a vehicle. Chew on that for a minute.
Gently down the stream: Just because you’re taking action (the rowing) doesn’t mean it has to be forced and difficult. Action can be GENTLE. We are co-creating our lives; we have to do our part, but we also have to be gently flexible and free of resistance. If you row fiercely and consistently exert extreme effort, you’ll be exhausted before you get anywhere. If we are to thrive over the long-haul, we need to be gentle. DOWN the stream, not up! Salmon must be crazy to go against the current! Why fight and struggle to counter the flow of life? Such wasted energy and useless effort! In other words, go with the flow. Choose the way that is downstream. Decide now to drop from your life anything that feels like going upstream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily: I don’t believe in going around with a fake permanent smile plastered on your face, but I don’t think that’s what is implied here. We’re not talking about the Santa Claus kind of merry, though if that merriness comes from an authentic, heart-centered place, wonderful! Merrily can mean “contentedly” or with a quiet inner joy and sense of peace. There is no inner conflict as you row your boat down the stream of life. You see things for what they are and resist not.
Life is but a dream: My favourite line! I could write a book about this one, but I’ll keep it simple: Life is not necessarily what you think it is. What if all this stuff of the material plane is illusory? What if Reality lies beyond the five senses, and we are to wake up to the Truth of who we are and where we come from? How would we live our humanness differently? What if all the stuff we take so seriously doesn’t really matter?