“Well-being of body is like a mountain. A lot happens on a mountain. It hails, and the winds come up, and it rains and snows. The sun gets very hot, clouds cross over, animals shit and piss on the mountain, and so do people. People leave their trash, and other people clean it up. Many things come and go on this mountain, but it just sits there. When we’ve seen ourselves completely, there’s a stillness of body that is like a mountain. We no longer get jumpy and have to scratch our noses, pull our ears, punch somebody, go running from the room, or drink ourselves into oblivion. A thoroughly good relationship with ourselves results in being still, which doesn’t mean we don’t run and jump and dance about. It means there’s no compulsiveness. We don’t overwork, overeat, oversmoke, overseduce. In short, we begin to stop causing harm.
Well-being of speech is like a lute without strings. Even without strings, the musical instrument proclaims itself. This is an image of our speech being settled. It doesn’t mean that we’re controlling, uptight, trying hard not to say the wrong thing. It means that our speech is straightforward and disciplined. We don’t start blurting out words just because no one else is talking and we’re nervous. We don’t chatter away like magpies and crows. We’ve heard it all; we’ve been insulted and we’ve been praised. We know what it is to be in situations where everyone is angry, where everyone is peaceful. We’re at home in the world because we’re at home with ourselves, so we don’t feel that out of nervousness, out of our habitual pattern, we have to run at the mouth. Our speech is tamed, and when we speak, it communicates. We don’t waste the gift of speech in expressing our neurosis.
Well-being of the mind is like a mountain lake without ripples. When the lake has no ripples, everything in the lake can be seen. When the water is all churned up, nothing can be seen. The still lake without ripples is an image of our minds at ease, so full of unlimited friendliness for all the junk at the bottom of the lake that we don’t feel the need to churn up the waters just to avoid looking at what’s there.”
– Pema Chodron, “When things fall apart”