How Is Your Mind?
asked, “How is your mind?” It was a greeting; a rhetorical
question. The student didn’t know what to say. What does he mean?
There are a lot of things going on in this mind. "How is the weather?"
One could answer that. "How are you?" Easy answer: "I am fine. And
you?" That requires no particular introspection. "How is your mind?" It
was like asking, "How is planet earth?"
next several things the sensei said flew off someplace. They were not
heard. Some things after that were heard but immediately forgotten.
Then came this: “This discipline is a means of cleaning or
polishing your own mind through self-reflection.”*
gong sounded inside the student’s head. Here was the thing to be
heard and remembered. One might polish the mind. By the means of
self-reflection, the mind could be made clear and reflective like a
mirror. By observing, one might rub out the emotional schmutz that
out to contemplate what he had heard, the student sat on a bench by a
pond. Wind ruffled the water. Sun reflected from tiny waves dazzling
the student’s eyes. He breathed out and then in. And that is all
he did. In time the earth moved, as it always does, and the wind went
somewhere else. The surface of the pond became still. The pond was like
a mirror. Whatever was there was reflected without distortion. The
observing mind was still also and it reflected what was there without
distortion. Ego had abated. Nobody was grabbing or pushing thoughts or
feelings. They came in when there was some reason for them, and they
went out undisturbed. When a duck flew over the pond, the reflection
passed over the water and when the duck was gone the reflection was
gone. When a thought came to mind, it was there and then it flew on and
out, breathing in. Sitting quietly. There was no separation between
student and experience. The water and the land, the reeds and the
algae, the water bugs and duck poop, the feather floating by, the sound
of birds, the buzz of flying insects and internal combustion engines
beyond the wall, all one. Everything and nothing. No space and no
out. Breathe in. Settle down. Close your eyes and observe. Go nowhere
and bring nothing with you. Polish the mind without doing anything.
Observe. Be. Breathe out. Breathe in.
*Quote is from a talk by Kanjuro Shibata, Sensei at http://www.zenko.org/yumi_talk.htm
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