Zhao De wrote, “If water is still enough, everything is reflected clearly. If mind is calm, then wisdom grows.”
A key goal in the practice of Buddhist meditation is to develop a calm mind. We call the practice mindfulness but mindfulness is also a state of mind. And calmness does not mean absolute stillness. There is movement in calmness. According to the T’ai Shang Ch’ing-ching Ching (“Cultivating Stillness”), a text attributed to Lao Tzu, “Movement is the foundation of stillness.”
Sometimes we engage in metaphor: Still water is our mind. The stillness of the water is disturbed when the wind blows and makes waves. Waves are our sufferings. The nature of water is stillness, while the nature of waves is movement.
When we gaze upon a calm sea, we see that the surface is tranquil, smooth, waveless. Because there is no surface movement to distort the reflection, in still water we see a clear reflection of things as they are. A calm mind reflects the world without distortion. In addition, this mind does not try to seize and cling to everything it sees, and when there are waves, it is not smashed by their impact.
You know the theory: If a person’s mind is profoundly still, he or she becomes aware of their true nature and the real aspect of things. Like still water, when the mind is calm it sends back a clear image of the non-duality of the world, and we discover that a wave is not separate from water; it is water, in movement. It’s a rather obvious conclusion but remember water and waves are metaphors.
In meditation practice, to develop this non-dual realization fully, we consider the mind to be water and sufferings as waves, and we meditate to become waveless.
Being present in the moment, mindfulness is wavelessness.
Being aware, of course, that movement is also present.
A certain sage from Texas maintains that “Still is still moving to me.”