The Watchful Eye
An image of a vineyard is commonly used to illustrate how unwanted states of mind steal the joy from our lives and how we can lead the thieves out with little to no strain.
The vineyard [the mind] is a place of richness and growth. The watchful eye at the peak of the central tower keeps it clear and settled.
As a thief [unwanted states of mind] enters this garden, the intention is to steal its fruits [joyful states of a still and settled mind].
The unskilled watchman shouts, yells, threatens, stomps his feet, and eventually climbs down in a fit to chase the thief away – it is in this way that the watchman becomes his own disturbance.
The skilled watchman notices and gently turns the powerful gaze of his light [attention] with an attitude of simple acknowledgement [curious non-resistance], and the thief is exposed; the thief is powerless; the thief is helpless – it is in this way that the watchman protects the fruit of his life.
Where is your attention right now? Find it.
Is it where you want it to be (does it lead you to feel more of what you want and less of what you don’t want)? If not, how do you know?
Where in the body do you detect that things aren’t the way you want them to be? Place your attention there.
How does it feel? Is there warmth? Pressure? Movement? Solidity? Vibration? Pain? Fullness? Cold? Calm? Fluidity? Spaciousness? Claustrophobia? Stillness?
Notice the sensations there. That point of bodily sensation is the splash of a stone in a pond.
Spread out your awareness to include the splash and all of the ripples throughout the felt-sense of the body. Allow your attention to rest on this fullness of sensation.
Breathe in deeply – breathe out slowly and completely.
Do this over again during the span of 10 seconds.
Do this every time you enter a new room. Or every time you notice something blue at eye level. Or at the beginning of every hour.
Do you have 10 seconds? If you don’t, do this every time you think, “Boy, I wish I had 10 seconds to relax.”
That easy? Well, sure… easy enough to do. It won’t change your life or anything, though (unless you decide that it will).