Quote of the Day: Lu You

Hiking through a tiny forested area along the river that runs around Cathedral Rock - Sedona, AZ

Hiking through a tiny forested area along the river that runs around Cathedral Rock – Sedona, AZ

“The mind is like the water of a pool,
tranquil without wind;
Sitting silently for thousands of breaths;
Midnight, but don’t be surprised to see
whales making huge waves
to welcome the sun at dawn.”
~ Lu You


This is a poem I came across years ago in my first reading of Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit’s “The Complete Book of Zen” – one of the most amazing pieces of literature I have ever come across.

I’ve read this book many times over the years and am currently giving it my fifth read.

There are endless koans, poems, and other stories throughout the text which help to test one’s understanding of higher wisdom, all the while providing deep and thorough explanations of various concepts that many struggle to understand.

Every time you read the book, you begin to understand everything in new ways, and certain koans and poems that once left you at a complete loss for understanding suddenly light up your mind in a flash of awareness!

Today I share this poem with you; after meditating on it from time to time over the years, I have finally come to understand its deeper meaning.

I was using thought and intellect far too much; I felt I was close but not quite there. Realizing I was not confident enough in my understanding of the symbolism of ‘midnight’, ‘whales’, and ‘dawn’, I approached a friend who has studied meditation and Buddhism for many years longer than I and asked if he would share some insight. In his wisdom, he asked me a question instead of giving a response (this is a popular technique Masters use to help break through the intellectualization process so that the aspirant can see and experience his true face directly and spontaneously). His question was, “When you stub your toe really hard, does it hurt?” This may make no sense to others, but it was just what I needed to break through my over-thinking and intellectualizing. The understanding shined bright and clear from within, and I spontaneously experienced the cosmic truth of both the poem and my wise friend’s question.

Do you understand the deeper significance of Lu You’s poem?

Have a lovely Wednesday! xo

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5 thoughts on “Quote of the Day: Lu You

  1. Does the poem suggest… if the breaths are perfect when meditating, your mind will remain still. But make sure not to underestimate the power of the subconscious, because it can pop up huge and powerful, at any point to disturb your perfectly still water.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s an interesting interpretation of the poem πŸ™‚ but there is a deeper meaning still to be experienced. The symbolism of the words is a good guide to direct our minds, but if we focus too much on these words, symbols, and concepts like I was doing, we get trapped in the intellectualization and fail to spontaneously experience the cosmic truth – which can’t be shared in words! Nor experienced while our minds are thinking about the words.

      A good way to transcend this is to go into meditation, still the mind, and when your minds eye is clear of thoughts and distractions, β€˜throw’ the poem into the void and see what comes forth. Nothing significant may come at first, but don’t lose faith. Keep relaxed, open, and spontaneously receptive.

      I found that meditating on the symbols of β€˜midnight’ and β€˜dawn’ in relation to β€˜yin’ and β€˜yang’ was what eventually led to the full experience of the cosmic truth – I also found that this inherent cosmic truth was much simpler than my mind had wanted to make it out to be πŸ˜‰

      Not to be cryptic, I just don’t want to take away the opportunity for you to discover the meaning on your own. It took me years, and I’m so glad I took the time to wait for my own conscious evolution to catch up rather than seek a thorough explanation from an outside source.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share, and have a wonderful day!

      Like

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