But it will be said: "Our minds are NOT pure and transparent. More often they are muddy and soiled--soiled, if not in their real essence, yet by reason of the mortal phial in which they are contained." And that alas! is true. If you pour a phial of muddy water into that reservoir which we described --what will you see? You will see a queer and ugly cloud formed. And to how many of us, in our dealings with the world, does life take on just such a form--of a queer and ugly cloud?
Now not so very long after those Upanishads were written there lived in China that great Teacher, Lao-tze; and he too had considered these things. And he wrote--in the Tao-Teh- King--"Who is there who can make muddy water clear?" The question sounds like a conundrum. For a moment one hesitates to answer it. Lao-tze, however, has an answer ready. He says: "But if you LEAVE IT ALONE it will become clear of itself." That muddy water of the mind, muddied by all the foolish little thoughts which like a sediment infest it--but if you leave it alone it will become clear of itself. Sometimes walking along the common road after a shower you have seen pools of water lying here and there, dirty and unsightly with the mud stirred up by the hoofs of men and animals. And then returning some hours afterwards along the same road--in the evening and after the cessation of traffic--you have looked again, and lo! each pool has cleared itself to a perfect calm, and has become a lovely mirror reflecting the trees and the clouds and the sunset and the stars.
So this mirror of the mind. Leave it alone. Let the ugly sediment of tiresome thoughts and anxieties, and of fussing over one's self-importances and duties, settle down--and presently you will look on it, and see something there which you never knew or imagined before--something more beautiful than you ever yet beheld--a reflection of the real and eternal world such is only given to the mind that rests.
Do not recklessly spill the waters of your mind in this direction and in that, lest you become like a spring lost and dissipated in the desert.
But draw them together into a little compass, and hold them still, so still;
And let them become clear, so clear--so limpid, so mirror-like;
At last the mountains and the sky shall glass themselves in peaceful beauty,
And the antelope shall descend to drink, and the lion to quench his thirst,