Let Your Mind Settle

Here is a story and a quote that teaches you how to let your mind settle. You may want to do this prior to taking an action when you are disturbed or upset.

In The Sun My Heart: From Mindfulness to Insight and Contemplation, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (known as Thay by his followers) tells the story of four children who were playing on the hillside behind his house. They were each given a glass of homemade apple juice.

apple juiceThe fourth child, Thanh Thuy, had the last glass and there was a lot of pulp in it. She decided not to drink it when the others drank. She was not happy to see the pulp and pouted. She went off to play with the others.

Half an hour later, she called to Thay to help her get a glass of water because she was unable to reach the faucet. Thay reminded her of the apple juice on the table. Naturally, the pulp had settled and looked clear.

After drinking half of the juice, she put the glass down and asked, “Is this a different glass, Uncle Monk?”

Thay answered, “No. It’s the same one as before. It sat quietly for a bit, and now it’s clear and delicious.”

Thanh Thuy looked at the  glass again and said, “It really is good. Was it meditating like you, Uncle Monk?”

Thay responded, “Let’s say that I imitate the apple juice when I sit; that is closer to the truth.”

Along the same lines, Lao Tzu, said,

Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?

– Lao Tzu

Thanh Thuy’s experience with pulp clouding her apple juice is similar to Will’s experience with Richie Davidson’s Mind Bottles. Whenever Will got frightened of entering the elevator to go up to the next floor in his school, he would be reminded to shake the mind bottle and let the glitter settle. This little exercise helped Will to let his mind settle so he would be able to enter the elevator.

Meditation practices help you to let your mind settle. What techniques do you know to let your mind settle before you do something drastic?

The Sun My Heart

The Sun My Heart by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

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