Water in the boat is the ruin of the boat, but water under the boat is its support.

What did Rumi mean by:

Water in the boat is the ruin of the boat, but water under the boat is its support.

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This quote is a metaphor that highlights the importance of perspective and placement in life. Water in the boat symbolizes problems or challenges that we internalize or allow to infiltrate our personal space, which can lead to our downfall or ruin. On the other hand, water under the boat signifies the same problems or challenges, but when they are kept at a distance, they can actually become a source of strength and support, much like how water buoyantly supports a boat from underneath.

Applying this to personal development, it’s about managing adversity and cultivating resilience. If we let every problem or setback get to us, we risk being overwhelmed, much like a boat filling with water and sinking. However, if we can learn to keep these challenges in perspective, to view them as external to our personal identity and worth, we can actually use them to grow and propel ourselves forward. This is the water under the boat, providing the support and forward momentum.

In today’s world, this idea is highly relevant. We are constantly bombarded with challenges, from personal issues to global crises. If we internalize these challenges, they can lead to stress, anxiety, and other mental health problems. But if we learn to keep them at a healthy distance, we can use them as opportunities for growth and development.

For instance, consider the recent global pandemic. If we let the fear and uncertainty infiltrate our lives, it can be debilitating. But if we use it as an opportunity to learn new skills, adapt to new ways of working, or even just develop a greater appreciation for health and human connection, it can become a source of strength and resilience.

In essence, this quote is about the power of perspective and resilience in the face of adversity, a lesson that is timeless and universally applicable.

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