Aquifers of Understanding

The rain that falls on the earth’s surface takes several different journeys.  Some of it is collected by streams, rivers and lakes, and returned relatively quickly to the sea.  Some of it stays near the surface of the ground to be absorbed by plant life, and some of it takes a decades-long journey, down through dozens – sometimes hundreds – of feet of rock, arriving eventually at vast underground storage areas known as aquifers.  Freshwater aquifers charge extremely slowly and can take thousands of years to form.  We tap into them for industry and agriculture and they are critical to the prosperity of civilization as we know it.

Similar aquifers exist deep within the psyche of every human being. These aquifers contain not water, but a true understanding of one’s self.  This understanding is the product of events and experiences that have spent years working to penetrate layers of resistance before arriving into full consciousness.  The result of this slow, necessary distillation is a vast, silent reservoir of self-knowledge that is just as critical for human life as water.  It is a deep wellspring we can tap into when we have lost our bearings in the world, and urgently need to find our way.

There is one important thing to remember, though:  As rainfall may take decades to reach underground aquifers, so can it take a lifetime for deeper, fuller understanding to arrive in our own lives.   Nothing we do will hasten this process.  All we can do is try to be as patient, and as permeable, as possible.

Adrian Juric is Canadian Certified Counsellor.  He leads wilderness retreats for adults that use poetry and hiking to help individuals make sense of the transitions occurring in their lives.   See for more info.
Originally posted June 12, 2012 by Cassie Saunders

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