But then the Upanishad goes on: "As pure water poured into pure water remains the same, thus, O Gautama, is the Self of a thinker who knows." What a perfect image of rest! Imagine a cistern before you with transparent glass sides and filled with pure water. And then imagine some one comes with a phial, also of pure water, and pours the contents gently into the cistern. What will happen? Almost nothing. The pure water will glide into the pure water--"remaining the same." There will be no dislocation, no discoloration (as might happen if MUDDY water were poured in); there will be only perfect harmony.
I imagine here that the meaning is something like this. The cistern is the great Reservoir of the Universe which contains the pure and perfect Spirit of all life. Each one of us, and every mortal creature, represents a drop from that reservoir-- a drop indeed which is also pure and perfect (though the phial in which it is contained may not always be so). When we, each of us, descend into the world and meet the great Ocean of Life which dwells there behind all mortal forms, it is like the little phial being poured into the great reservoir. If the tiny canful which is our selves is pure and unsoiled, then when it meets the world it will blend with the Spirit which informs the world perfectly harmoniously, without distress or dislocation. It will pass through and be at one with it. How can one describe such a state of affairs? You will have the key to every person that you meet, because indeed you are conscious that the real essence of that person is the same as your own. You will have the solution of every event which happens. For every event is (and is felt to be) the touch of the great Spirit on yours. Can any description of Rest be more perfect than that? Pure water poured into pure water. . . . There is no need to hurry, for everything will come in its good time. There is no need to leave your place, for all you desire is close at hand.
Here is another verse (from the Vagasaneyi-Samhita Upanishad) embodying the same idea: "And he who beholds all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings, he never turns away from It. When, to a man who understands, the Self has become all things, what sorrow, what trouble, can there be to him--having once beheld that Unity?"--What trouble, what sorrow, indeed, when the universe has become transparent with the presences of all we love, held firm in the One enfolding Presence?
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;
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