A big storm with gale force winds hit Ireland overnight, causing high waves and uprooting trees, disrupting schedules and causing difficulties for normal activities. Although unusual, such an event is a useful metaphor for how our minds are at times, as we are subject to moods or get caught up in – and blown along by – the swirling events of a day. Life can create a succession of different storms, events and emotions that can unseat or destabilize us. What we are trying to do in meditation is to sit and tame this mind, cultivating a still center which does not get hooked by the winds of mood and of events:
The stillpoint, the centeredness – that’s awareness. When I cannot notice it and go out into the turning world, I become a person and get caught in my habits, my loves and hates, my likes and dislikes. But if I am centered at this point, it’s like the island you cannot go beyond, or the stillpoint of the turning world, the eye of the storm. And then the world revolves around it. The mood you are in is not the stillness. The mood comes and goes. It changes, revolves; it’s happy, sad, elated, depressed, inspired, bored, loving, hateful, and on and on like this….It’s so easy to say “I’m in a bad mood” or “I’m in a good mood” Our langauge is like that, so we become the mood – “I feel happy today, everything’s fine” or “Today is one of my bad days”. That’s why I encourage this investigation of thought, so that you are not creating yourself, endlessly reinforcing the sense of self through your proliferating thoughts.
Ajahn Sumedho, The Sound of Silence