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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chill

Picture this: You and a buddy are hiking in the mountains, and you come upon a beautiful pond surround by trees in their autumn foliage. You’re looking at your reflection in the still surface of the pond, with a halo of red leaves around you, when PLOP! your friend throws a head-sized rock into the water. The mirror-like surface of the pond is shattered, and now all you can see is an image like the one on a TV without a cable box. You have to wait a while before the vision is restored.

New scene: A guy I met grew up in a rural area of the south, and when he was a boy, he and his brother had to fetch water from a spring pool in buckets. His brother would get there first, draw his bucket, then stir the silt at the bottom of the pool so Bob had to wait for the silt to settle before he could draw water.

Different images, same idea.

A mind agitated like a rippling pond, or contaminated like a silty pool, is virtually useless. What is needed is to sit quietly until the mind, like the water, is calm and clear again.

The sages call this "meditation." We might just call it "chillin'."

You can do it in a zendo with people in robes, or in a Starbucks with people in khaki. You can do it in a yoga studio, or on a mountain trail. You can do it with a tai chi master in a park, or with a good book in your room.

But do it.

You'll be happier.

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