In the two weeks since I last practiced at the Open Meadow Zen Group in Lexington, MA, the frogs have turned to fog. Yesterday morning had an almost-autumnal bite, and with the cooler temperature came a filmy veil of condensation over the open conservation land that gives Open Meadow its name. Although the fog had burned away by the time morning practice was over, it still wasn’t warm enough for basking frogs. Presumably they’ll wait for afternoon or Indian summer.
One of the things you learn from meditating is how your own mind is like a meadow. Sometimes your meadow-mind is clear and sunny; sometimes your meadow-mind is filmed in fog. Sometimes there are frogs in your meadow-mind, and other times, all you hear is the honk of a lone nuthatch probing for insect larvae in an overarching willow. Regardless of how your meadow-mind appears when you show up to practice, though, you practice anyway. Meditation isn’t about chasing fog or luring frogs: meditation is about simply noticing whatever state your meadow-mind happens to be in at This Particular Moment.
Over time, I’ve seen Lexington’s open meadow in many moods, and as I continue to practice, I’ll see her in many more. Likewise, my own sometimes foggy, sometimes froggy mind remains true to itself even as ever-changing weather blows through like moods. A foggy meadow moves to her own schedule and by her own accord, and so too does a sometimes restless, sometimes restful mind. Meditation is about waking up, taking note of your own mind-weather, and allowing fog and cloud to follow their own rhythm, in their own time.