I love this story of how Buddha taught meditation to Ananda.
Ananda was one of Buddha’s disciples, and he followed Buddha around Northern India for many years learning at his Master’s right hand. Many Buddhist teaching tales use Ananda as the person learning the spiritual lessons.
How Buddha taught meditation to Ananda
Once Gautam Buddha was going to another village with his disciple Ananda. On the way they came across a small water stream but they did not stopped there and kept on moving.
After around half an hour, Buddha sat down under a big tree and asked Ananda to bring some water from the water stream they have crossed few minutes ago. When Ananda reached the water stream, it was muddy and water was not looking clean. So Ananda came and reported to Buddha that water is not good for drinking. Its better to wait till we reach the next village.
But Buddha insisted on drinking the water from the same water stream and he asked Ananda to wait at the stream till it water become clear again. So Ananda went there again. To his surprise water was looking more clean this time but was still little muddy. Nothing else to do, Ananda just sat there looking at the water. To his surprise, after some time mud had settled down to the bottom and water was for drinking again.
Then Ananda suddenly realized that the first time when he was coming back to the stream, A bullock cart must have passed through the stream and all the mud has come on the surface of water, thus making it unclean. He came back and reported all this to Buddha.
Buddha smiled and said this is the case with all of us. When any thought or emotion comes then we get identified with them and we become unconscious. But on the contrary, If we just witness these thoughts and feelings silently, with out doing any thing with them then they will affect us and will leave on their own. Original story here
Our mind is that bullock cart which brings thoughts and emotions to cloud our consciousness and make us unconscious. A meditator just witness these thoughts and his consciousness always remains clean and undisturbed. But if we get identify with any emotion then we our consciousness become disturb and full of disturbance like that of the water stream. Original story here.
In short, learn to observe your thoughts and emotions and feelings and sensations and pains and pleasures with the same equanimity.
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