Last night I was meditating, staring at the old WWII ammunition chest that belonged to my grandfather. Inside the grain I saw the image of an old man leaning over a worktable. The brain struggled to make sense of the wood swirls and, somehow, labeled a particular pattern in this way. I looked away for a few minutes to unsee the old man, but it was no use. Each time I returned to the swirl there he was, still pouring over his project. He could not be unseen once identified and labeled by the brain.
This is the way the mind works and it is difficult to see through the trap of the conditioned grasping, clutching, and labeling brain. It is easy to get carried away by the thinking sickness, the checking and judging and struggle to make sense of things that, in and of themselves, are senseless. This is not a reflection of our True self. It is social conditioning, a ravenous virus of habit mind that feeds on pain and suffering.
This morning during a 5am meditation the brain and eyes wanted to re-see the old man. . .to search, label, and cling to an image from the past. I did not react to the urge, only witnessed it and let it pass.
There never was an old man. There was only a random swirl in the wood grain. It was beautiful just as it was.