Another image Ajahn Chah used for practicing meditation is the leaves in the trees and the forest. Quite naturally, the leaves in the forest are quite still. Only when the wind blows will the leaves vibrate or shake, be blown back and forth. In the same way, our mind, our actual mind, our real mind, is always still and steady. It’s the moods of the mind that shake it.
When the winds of our moods, impressions, thoughts and feelings come up, we take the mind to be the various moods and impressions, rather than recognizing that it’s just the winds of mood, of thought and feeling, of perception. The underlying mind is the quality of knowing. The underlying mind is the quality of being present. With that quality, we are able to distinguish between the wind of mood and the quality of knowing and able to be attentive, and recognize that both those things are happening.
The moods of the mind - the impressions, the reactions, the additions that we make and the proliferations that we add - affect what we consider to be the mind. In fact, we misperceive experience or don’t recognize the distinction between the two.
One doesn’t stand outside and force the wind not to blow or get upset because the wind does blow. It’s just a natural phenomenon. In the same way, we can allow the mind to become steady, to become peaceful, to attend in ways that don’t get caught up in the activity of the mind. Or, we can be swept up by the winds of change that blow through the mind, but see that as a natural phenomenon. Ajahn Chah was skillful at getting us to really pay attention to the nature and naturalness of the practice - that very natural reality we easily miss.
This reflection by Luang Por Pasanno is from the booklet, Ajahn Chah’s Teachings on Nature.