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Reflections on the river of life

Christiaan Mol joined WALA in 1996, where he most recently headed the Representation of Interests/Legal Group. In 2018, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the WALA Foundation.

The flow of events...

Sometimes I experience the world as being clear and immediate, sometimes not at all... In these moments I feel either a sense of connection or disconnection... different feelings arise; joy, sadness, anger, helplessness, regret, gratitude and more... Can I attain more clarity regarding the course life takes, the things that happen?


Do my experiences and my self belong together? Is the river of life external, flowing into me, or am I connected to everything that I encounter? Is it always me, is it my own self that is concentrated, pooled within the borders of my skin, just as I, in some ways, live in my surroundings, in every experience that finds me?

I am searching for a place to contemplate these questions

And there it is, a cathedral in the heart of my city. I want to go inside. I walk through the door and a multitude of small statues stare at me; it seems as if they are emerging from the wall. They accompany me on the short journey from the churchyard to the inner sanctum. The transition is complete, the churchyard behind me. I am excited to see the space I am about to enter.

Once inside, I pause for a moment to collect myself and then I expand: my gaze sweeps behind the columns, brushes across the ceiling, searches out paintings, traces the outlines of statues, caresses the eternal foundations of the columns that have so reliably supported the church throughout the centuries. I seek out the altar, cautiously, and ask myself what it in turn has seen... I notice that the inside of this cathedral brings me peace. Even though the space is limited, I find it easy to expand, to relax.

A calm perspective

It is a feeling that is simultaneously sobering and comforting. The sanctuary and the world outside vibrate through the stories told by the stained-glass windows, vibrate through me. I reflect on the past and the future with a certain sense of ease, a sense of lightness, of interest.

My soul is filled with memories, reflections, thoughts and deliberations for the future. I notice that I have begun to internally weigh up each thought, like a balancing scale, like a gentle series of waves on the shore. I experience myself in the centre, swaying from side to side, I find an order and a momentum that internalises and reflects on so many different things: myself and the world, inside, outside, yesterday, tomorrow. What was good, what was not so good?

My feelings are here, separating out from one another, bequeathing a different colour to each bit of my soul. I listen. I understand how the sanctuary, with its designs and directions, the ceiling above, the heavy foundations below, the colourful windows, the aisles, are all a match for my internal experiences. The church organ sounds. I become even quieter, more attentive. My feelings respond precisely and individually to each sound I hear.

Love for this world

While listening, I notice the river of time, like a space I find myself in. I understand that this reflection is affecting me, my heart stirs... I hear something akin to a gentle appeal: to be present, to be here, to honour and observe the world around me. I understand that taking the time to be present will give everything I have ever sensed a little more meaning. And all I have to do is be human, and observe and respect the world.

Feelings and contemplations

I sense that I use feelings to connect to this world. With my own world, the world that reaches out to invite me in. I feel with my soul, and that, it seems to me, is what connects me to the world, that opens a space for contemplation within me which in turn can flow out into the world...

The rhythm in the world, the rhythm in me

I experience the rhythm in my soul, and I suspect that this is an experience that all people have, that makes us human... The rhythm in me connects me to the world, it shines, it reaches out...
If the cosmos I find myself in should want to speak to me in such a way that I could forge a connection to it, then surely it would do so through rhythm...