Watching "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" this afternoon, I was struck by a story told by the subject of the documentary, Mark Bittner. He relates the story of a famous Zen monk visiting Yosemite National Park and seeing an enormous and beautiful waterfall there. The monk observed that the river was made up of countless of drops of water all flowing as one towards the top of a cliff. As the river meets the cliff and tumbles over the edge, the resulting cascade appears to be made up of trillions of individual droplets plummeting towards the bottom. Once the droplets have all fallen to the bottom of the cliff, they become the river once again, rejoined together as one.
Our lives, the Zen master surmised, consist of the journey between the top of the cliff and the bottom, thus in our free fall through life, we think that we are solitary individuals, but we are truly just an intrinsic part of the larger river, only as separate as our thoughts allow us to be.