Monday, September 10, 2018

Indra's Wet Net

One night in a dream, near Rum Island Spring where I make offerings to the naga, I am given the gift of a vision.
I am lifted high up into blackest space where I am allowed to hover with no visible support. When I look down, I can see the whole upper part of the Florida peninsula from Orlando to the Georgia line. Like the Technicolor animation in an old Disney movie, exquisitely hand-drawn in the finest detail, I can see beneath the topsoil and into the holey limestone of the Floridan aquifer, that huge storage tank for one of the world’s largest supplies of freshwater.
I watch in awe as groundwater bubbles through porous bedrock, rising here in springs and rivers as rain falls, falling there as water is pumped out for people and farms—a dynamic, percolating system with limestone rendered in grey, beige, and brown, water in every color of blue from ultramarine to turquoise to aquamarine.
As I watch, I don’t just observe but understand how rainfall and withdrawals at one place on the peninsula can change groundwater levels even hundreds of miles away as that water alternately seeps, flows and rushes through limestone conduits that range in size from pinholes to underground rivers.
This net of bubbling springs connected by strands of flowing water reminds me of another vision I had years ago, a vision of Indra's Net.
According to Wikipedia, Indra's Net "is a metaphor used to illustrate the concepts of Sunyata (emptiness), pratityasamutpada (dependent origination) and interpenetration in Buddhist philosophy." Alan Watts wrote, "Imagine a multidimensional spider's web in the early morning covered with dew drops. And every dew drop contains the reflection of all the other dew drops. And, in each reflected dew drop, the reflections of all the other dew drops in that reflection. And so ad infinitum. That is the Buddhist conception of the universe in an image."
Watts so perfectly describes what I was shown so many years ago that I wonder if this image of Indra’s Net is something that is hard-wired, somehow, into human consciousness.
I think of my vision of Florida's springs as Indra's wet net, where each spring is a reflection of the causes and conditions that have formed it and all the other springs—and I believe that we humans are reflected in that wet net, too, because of the harm we cause or the help we offer to this beautiful, complicated, life-giving water system.
Many years ago now, I wrote that the way we treat each other is reflected in the way we treat the environment that is our home, and vice versa. The vision of Indra's wet net is yet another example of that idea.
I woke from my dream of the living aquifer with the vision firmly and vividly implanted in my mind. I would love to find someone who could animate what I saw, so others could see it too.