Deep in the hills of southern Virginia, I stand on a small dock that rests on the still waters of a small lake adjacent to the campground where we are currently staying during this phase of our journey around the country.
The water of the lake is absolutely still, the air is chilly, and the full moon itself seems to move quickly through the sky above me, even though I know that it's the low-flying clouds that are actually moving, not the moon.
I picture the clouds as representations of the thoughts that constantly swirl through my head, and the stillness of the surface of the lake represents the nature of my mind, or how I am told my mind should be. Those clouds are simply brief interruptions of the clarity of the sky above them, and the sky remains as vast and deep and unperturbed as always, no matter how many clouds pass over its wide-eyed screen.
As the clouds pass overhead, they are very clearly reflected on the surface of the dark lake, as in the placid face of the large white moon. The reflections of the clouds are no more real than my many disturbing thoughts, but I seem unable to distinguish between the real and the unreal.
I know the reflections in the water are simply reflections, just as I should know that my thoughts are only thoughts and nothing more. Why do my thoughts so easily disturb my peace of mind? Why do the clouds that pass across the surface of my inner lake so quickly cause ripples and waves that easily throw me off course?
My undisciplined mind yearns for clarity, its surface so frequently disturbed from within and without. That lake, so calmly reflecting the moon and clouds above it, knows nothing of worry, of anxiety, of rumination. Would that my mind could learn the lesson taught by the stillness of that clear, cold lake and the vast sky above it.