Saturday 14 September 2013

#398 Clarity of Mind - the Jar of Soil & Water Metaphor

     If we take a glass jar, add some soil, fill it with water, put a lid on, then shake it all up, we've created a cloudy suspension of particles - dilute mud. Now if we leave this jar undisturbed, we see that inevitably all the soil particles gradually settle to the bottom, leaving crystal clear water above. 
     The soil particles represent the myriad things to which we attend. The more "going on in our lives", the more darkly turbid the jar contents. Inherently pure clear water represents our mind.
     The more we practice mindfulness meditation, the more opportunity we provide for the jar to sit still, the more particles settle, and the greater the clarity of the water.
     Each time we notice that we're thinking, worrying, daydreaming etc - playing or wrestling with soil particles - we patiently gently effortlessly - without shaking the jar - let it go, returning our awareness to the physical feel of the present moment eg breathing, posture, muscle tone, sounds.
     Although most of us only have rare, very brief experiences of our jar containing crystal clear water (all mud at the bottom), we all have this natural capacity. It truly is simply (though not easily) a matter of prioritizing time for this evolved activity. We have a lifelong habit of playing & struggling with mud. Now we know how to intentionally achieve clarity of mind. Far more exciting than theory - just another floating particle - is seizing the opportunity now to actualize & stabilize this clarity.

Kentville, Nova Scotia

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