Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Where water is, bread will come..."

  There is a poem by Rumi* that goes:

"Where water is, bread will come.
But not the reverse.
Water never comes from loaves.”

In it I think Rumi is using water as a metaphor for the spirit or the inner world, and bread for the outer. To me he is saying that when we take care of our inner lives, our outer lives will reflect that caring. In a world where there is so much emphasis on getting it together, on taking care of business, this is a radical approach. But it does not suggest sitting on a cushion all day, or withdrawing into a monastery, or ignoring the outer world in any way. Rather it is a suggestion that our inner well being is our first responsibility, and by creating harmony within we give a chance for harmony to manifest outside.

But in the world of water, it is not only a metaphor. When we get clean water to people in need, we are helping them to get bread on their tables. The very first step in alleviating poverty is clean water. Without it, sickness is inevitable, and when a person is sick they cannot feed themselves, cannot get up and go to work. When a family is on the breadline, this is devastating – a day without work becomes a day without food, which is a day without energy, and it spirals into a worse and worse situation.

That is why we are so focused on getting clean water to people in need, and why we are so horrified when, in the wealthiest countries, so many vital resources are wasted on the bottling of water. There is, simply, no harmony in supporting so much disparity . No harmony for the world, and no harmony within ourselves. It is a sign that we have separated ourselves from the rest of humanity in the most strong and perverse way.

At WonWater, through our project, we are beginning the work of developing water vending machines to sell chilled, filtered water into your own cup or bottle. The water will be filtered and chilled on the spot, making it better-than-bottled in taste, freshness, environmental impact, and cost, with none of the potential health implications of storing water for months in disposable plastic containers. When the project is up and running (so to speak) the profits will be channelled (sorry, more puns) into the WonWater Project – getting clean water to those in need, and bringing a type of harmony between the water needs of the richest and poorest among us.

*thanks to Coleman Barks for this translation and all his work.

Written by Gray Ramsey, founder of WonWater and

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