Deep Waters, Clear and Quiet


OLD POND
FROG JUMPS IN
THE SOUND OF WATER

Basho


Imagine your mind is like a small pond. During an average day you frequently draw water from the pond and you pour new water into it. The bottom of the pond is muddy, so when you disturb the water, mud rises up and the water becomes cloudy. It may be that you’ve developed the habit of throwing garbage into the water too, so the quality of the water has become tainted. There may be objects of great value below the surface, but the murkiness of the water makes it difficult to find them.

In order to find what you need, and to appreciate the beauty of the pond, it is important to take care of the quality of the water you put into the pond and let the water settle from time to time.

When we meditate, we give our minds a chance to settle. We stop actively stirring our thoughts. We stop pouring information into our minds, and we stop the churning action of thinking. With practice and patience we can more easily let go of our habitual muddying of consciousness. What we are left with is self-awareness, clear consciousness, and less fear of the unknown.

Practice:
Sit quietly in an upright position. Breathe slowly and calmly. Imagine your mind is a pond or small pool of water. Let the water settle. Observe how your thoughts disturb the peace, and tranquility of your mind. Let your thoughts fall away as if they were fallen leaves that can settle to the bottom. Bring peace into your body and your mind. Breathe in calm. Be patient as your consciousness settles, clarifies. If your thoughts stir things up again, just let them go and continue to invite stillness.




 
When I meet my mind in the dark,
I see slick squiggly things
That shimmer and skitter
Into deep waters.
I find tangled webs of intellectual string.
Pools of mind muck
Flare up into tender sadness,
Or unexpected anger
As I slosh around.
If I dig below the surface
With my little trowel
Of purposeful questions,
I must work my way
Through roots and ancient stones until
I reach that open space of
Fresh air and clean still water.

Tom Barrett


Back to the Interlude Home Page

[ HOME ][ THOUGHT ][ ARCHIVE ][ PRAYERS ]
[ POETRY ]
[ LINKS ][ LISTS ][ BOOKSHOP ]

© 2001-2008 Tom Barrett