In my mind’s eye I saw a rock in a river and I wondered how it got to be so smooth.

It was around 5am and I was sitting on the floor in a dark room in front of a lit candle, trying to hear myself (as I do every Monday through Friday morning).

My curiosity about the smoothness of the river rock lead me to some simple yet powerful guidance: be the rock. But in order to “be the rock,” I had to know exactly how it got that way.

I chalked it up to erosion by water, and this is somewhat true, but I needed to take my understanding a bit further.

In short, a river stone transforms from sharp to smooth because it has been carried down a river where it is subjected to intense erosion, through collision with other rocks.

This process of attrition causes the rock to lose it’s angularity, and it is important to note that the smoother and rounder the rock, the greater the distance it has traveled away from its source.

The composition of a rock is a great determining factor as to how susceptible it is to this change. Some rocks are harder and take more power to erode away their roughness. Others just know how to submit to the journey downstream.

Now I know you’re clever, so I’m certain that you see the metaphor I’m driving at here: Life is a river, I’m a sharp object, and I am perfected through conflict.

Like the rock I saw in my imagination, I came from a Greater Source, and through separation from this Source, was left with many jagged edges, set to the task of change and refinement.

In the rock’s case, this source is magma, a molten substance beneath the Earth’s surface. In my case, this source is a collective consciousness that there are many, many names for.

In both cases, we leave home, a universal vital energy, and we’re given the opportunity to transition into the best versions of ourselves.

In conclusion, these are the takeaways from my morning contemplation:

Surrender to the river and its flow. Sometimes it’s fast. Sometimes it’s slow. Trust the wisdom of life and it will carry you exactly where you need to go. To resist life’s movement is to remain rough. To cooperate with the forces around you is to witness your true self take shape.

Welcome the weathering. There is a perfect circle living within you, and to help it emerge, jettison all that conceals it. Let life erode your jagged edges—those harmful thoughts, beliefs, and habits, the pain and the unsavory emotions—let it all fall away to reveal the Great Work you already are.

Thank heaven for conflict. Don’t resist the bumps—you need them. Trials introduce you to your strength. Difficult people show you who you are and what you’re made of. Challenging experiences expand your perception. All of this can propel you much faster towards the cultivation of You.  

Practice patience. Rocks are are constantly changing very slowly. Forcing the path and its pace will leave you frustrated, as transformation is a cooperative process and you are not fully in control. You’ll arrive where you need to when you need to and it will work out seamlessly for all involved.