The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. John, 3:8
On this high overcast afternoon, the wind picks up and penetrates the space between branches and twigs of the large juniper in our back yard. All the treetops in the neighborhood are dancing in a swirl of unseen energy. My breath mirrors this activity; the sway of trees paces the rise and fall of my rib cage. A mantra creeps into my vocal cords. It is not one that I know consciously. It whispers in the subtle movements of my awareness seeking to recognize itself.
The intention of the universe seems to breathe a mantra into my mind. It winds its way through the convolutions of thought and calls me home—if I listen. A mantra is an echo of this inner wind. In our Buddhist practice we choose evoke an understanding of what we naturally know and a mantra is a vibrational reminder. But it takes courage and commitment to bring our mind into alignment with this vibration.
If we listen only to the habitual noise of our mind, we cannot perceive the wind of pure awareness blowing through. It is like observing a wind blown tree and only paying attention to the limbs. What animates the tree or any object of our perception, is none other than our natural wisdom seeking to find balance; seeking a middle way. We give voice to this unseen quality through the practice of mantra and therefore find ourselves resting in our wisdom nature. Compassion flows accordingly.
Two monks were arguing about the temple flag waving in the wind. One said, “The flag moves.” The other said, “The wind moves.” They argued back and forth but could not agree. Hui-Ning, the sixth patriarch, said, “Gentlemen! It is not the flag that moves. It is not the wind that moves. It is your mind that moves.” The two monks were struck with awe. Zen Koan