Friday, March 07, 2008

Meditation Tames the Untamed Mind

This great little story is a good metaphor for taming the untamed mind -- through meditation.

What was wild before

As I left my daytime resting place on Vulture Peak,
I saw an elephant
come up on the riverbank after its bath.

A man took a hook and said to the elephant,
Give me your foot.
The elephant stretched out its foot;
the man mounted.

Seeing what was wild before
gone tame under human hands,
I went into the forest
and concentrated my mind.

- Dantika, in Susan Murcotts The First Buddhist Women
from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Watching Winter

Found this little gem about winter in New England in 1855, as observed by Henry David Thoreau. Reading it, I couldn't help think that no matter how things change, they stay the same...and vice-versa...if that makes sense.

Here in northeastern US in 2008, mid-winter is a mixed affair of sun one day, rain the next, snow another and back to sun. Oh yeah, and maybe some more rain.

Thoreau talks about gutters turning into mill brooks. We have slushy Manhattan streets, which are sometimes best navigated wearing fly-fishing boots.

I've found that the only way to get through bad weather is to watch it, observe its beginning, middle and end. Some years, it's a full-season practice. But if I watch and appreciate it for what it's worth, I might even come to enjoy it.

Thoreau's Journal: 19-Jan-1855

Yesterday it rained hard all day, washing off the little snow that was left down to the ice, the gutters being good-sized mill-brooks and the water over shoes in the middle of the road.

In the night it turned to snow, which still falls, and now covers the wet ground three or four inches deep. It is a very damp snow or sleet, perhaps mixed with rain, which the strong northwest wind plasters to that side of the trees and houses.

I never saw the blue in snow so bright as this damp, dark, stormy morning at 7 A.M., as I was coming down the railroad. I did not have to make a hole in it, but I saw it some rods off in the deep, narrow ravines of the drifts and under their edges or eaves, like the serenest blue of heaven, though the sky was, of course, wholly concealed by the driving snow-storm; suggesting that in darkest storms we may still have the hue of heaven in us.