The last week or so in our Northwest has seen some tumultuous weather; fierce winds, slanting rain and cold. Streets are full of ‘lakes’ that cars splash through. People hurry along with umbrellas flipping inside out and rain boots and coats. Almost all the remaining leaves are in the gutters and on the lawns. Today, the lake was whipped into a fury, lots of white caps and waves rising into the air as they crashed along the shoreline. I saw a flotilla of coots, those ubiquitous black ducks, maybe a hundred of them, riding the water with great peace and calm. Built for the wet and cold weather, they seemed unperturbed. If we were out there, we’d be flailing.
Like those ducks, we have the opportunity to ride the vicissitudes of changing weather. It could be our outer life or our inner life. Someone says something that we take as a slight or an insult and we can stew about it for hours. Then we find that they didn’t say or mean what we thought or they have forgotten all about it.
The story of the man in a boat, floating down the river comes to mind. He is enjoying the gentle rhythm of the water until he sees a boat heading in his direction. He grows alarmed as the boat picks up speed and is heading right towards him. He stands up and starts shouting and waving his arms. Faster and faster the boat comes towards him, only last minute deterred by a rock in the water. And then the man sees that the boat is empty. All his angry, confused, frightened thoughts stop.
The practice of meditation and mindfulness can bring about subtle and transformative changes in our minds and hearts. Perhaps we aren’t so quick to judge. Maybe we have more equanimity and kindness. In spite of stormy weather, we are better able to glide up and down, over the waves.