I spent the last ten days on retreat in England, where the weather was far from what could be likened to Summer. They are calling it a European Monsoon, and certainly, one day, the wind blew strongly, breaking branches from the trees and even making standing still quite difficult. A bit like our ongoing, daily, experience of the mind:
Our minds are like flags in the wind, fluttering this way and that, depending on which way the wind blows. Even if we don’t want to feel angry, jealous, lonely, or depressed, we’re carried away by such feelings and by the thoughts and physical sensations that accompany them. We’re not free; we can’t see other options, other possibilities. The goal of attention, or shamatha, practice is to become aware of awareness. Awareness is the basis, or what you might call the “support,” of the mind. It is steady and unchanging, like the pole to which the flag of ordinary consciousness is attached. When we recognize and become grounded in awareness of awareness, the “wind” of emotion may still blow. But instead of being carried away by the wind, we turn our attention inward, watching the shifts and changes with the intention of becoming familiar with that aspect of consciousness that recognizes “Oh, this is what I’m feeling, this is what I’m thinking.” As we do so, a bit of space opens up within us. With practice, that space—which is the mind’s natural clarity—begins to expand and settle.
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoché