Moon, lake, waves and wind
What is the relationship between the moon, the lake, the waves and the wind?
What is the relationship between life, our mind and our thoughts and emotions?
This is a metaphor and there is no difference between nature and us.
When the night is silent and quiet the surface of the lake is still. No wind, no waves. Perfect quietness. The surface of the lake becomes a mirror reflecting everything perfectly well like the moon for example. When you look at the reflection of the moon on the surface, you see exactly the genuine moon in its reality. But, when the night is noisy, the lake is restless and the moon cannot reflect on its reality. It becomes a fragmented moon, an illusion of moon..
Now, extrapolate this vision of nature and used it as a metaphor whereby:
The moon is our life and its good and bad stuff.
The lake and its surface is our mind.
And the wind is our incessant thoughts and emotions.
Our internal wind is made of ongoing thinking, emotional up and down reactions, per-conceive ideas, judgments, illusions, planning, expectations, delusion, past and future, etc.
This wind is our inner theater, open 24/7non-stop. Like a movie, it has its own director, own script, own sound, own actors, own plot, own special effects. We are its spectators and actors at the same time that we like it or not.
Because this theater is just the product of our thoughts, it does exist but is totally artificial, virtual and fictional.
Yet, despite being fictional, we strongly believe in our thoughts because ……….we are creating them.
It is like watching the screen in a movie theater or reading a novel: we become an integral part of them.
Zen is teaching us that if thinking is important for functioning but too much of it can be deceptive, even dangerous. Being aware of our thoughts is an important skill to learn; so we can control them rather than being under their control.
When the wind is blowing, the lake and its surface are agitated. Nothing can prevent it because it is the law of physic. Same thing with our thinking and emotions: they make our mind agitated and restless with ups and downs like the big waves under blowing wind. In fact, our mind is restless 24/7/365.
The question is: When our mind is agitated, restless, edgy or anxious, can we reflect our surrounding world and life as they are? The answer is no and this distortion is causing suffering.
The moon is the analogy or metaphor of what is around us: life, people, events, the good, the bad, what we like and don’t like, what we want and don’t want.
When the lake is agitated it cannot reflect properly the moon as it is. Looking at the surface we will see just multiple fragments, twinkling of it or maybe nothing.
When our mind is agitated by too much thinking, too many judgments, etc., we cannot view life, its good and bad events, our surrounding and people world properly.
Reflecting things as they are and not as we want them to be is a critical step towards inner serenity.
It does not mean to be defeatist, pessimistic or coward. It means to be pragmatic and realist.
When we see things as they are and not with an emotional sight, it is far easier to deal with them in a rational way.
Without wind, our still and quiet lake is reflecting the moon as it is, like a mirror. No judgment, no resentment .
Without unnecessary overthinking, our mind will do the same thing, acting like a mirror. No judgment, no resentment, no whatever.
This is the Zen mind, a mirror mind. It is also called an “open mind, don’t know mind, beginner mind”.
When our mind is open, still and reflective, everything is possible including serenity and enlightenment.
When our mind is stuck, restless, frozen from pre-conceived ideas and judgment, nothing is possible but ongoing
anxiety, frustration, anger, hatred and delusions. It is affecting not only you and me but also others.