A classic Zen story begins like a bad joke…Two Monks are staring at a flag waving in the wind…
But, as it continues, it turns out the two monks are arguing about the nature of the flag and the wind.
One asserts, “The flag is moving,” while the other insists, “The wind is moving.”
Upon hearing this, an enlightened Master interjects, “Not the wind, not the flag; Mind is moving.”
The concept of the endless chatter of the mind that clouds our thinking is also common to Advaita Vedanta as well as Yoga. In those moments, we are deluded into a trick of perception and perspective. As when we are sitting in a train that is stopped in the station, and suddenly the train next to us begins to move, it is almost impossible NOT to feel like our train is moving. Though our body does not feel it, our mind literally tricks our neural pathways into “feeling” our train move…
In Shankara’s Aparokshanubhuti, he has a series of such deceptions borne out in a string of similes, though all repeating the same concept. Namely, we are often our own best deceivers.
Abhreshu satsu dhãvatsu somo dhãvati bhãti/
Tadvadãtmani dehatvam pashyajñãnayogatah//
Just as when the clouds pass over the moon, it too appears to move, so too on account of ignorance does one see the Ãtman to be the mortal body.