“The scent of a virtuous person goes against the wind, spreading in all directions.”
The wind in this analogy is the world. It’s everything that we see and hear that constantly tells us “Life is all about me.” It’s that thing that encourages us to pull away from others, to build walls, to make enemies out of everything. That’s the wind. It can cause us all sorts of trouble sometimes, that wind.
It’s about the things that tell us to consume all the time, that we need more of this and that… commercials and music videos…and even the normal jealousy we feel when we see someone with something we want. All of that is the wind.
And it’s ephemeral, like the wind. The truth is that it’s not all that important.
Going against the wind is going through life with an open heart and mind, meeting others with vulnerability and compassion.
The wind is telling us we need to wear masks all the time, constantly creating distance, pushing people away or trying to prove we’re better than them. Going against the wind is being who we really are instead, being truly authentic and free instead of being closed off and divisive and selfish all the time.
If we do that, then our virtue will spread in all directions. The Buddha described it as a scent. I’m not sure if I like that, it sounds a little weird, like we’re producing a good smell. But he just means that when we go against the wind, that spreads.
We touch the lives of the people around us, in small ways making the world a better place.
Let’s run against the wind.
Daniel Scharpenburg is a meditation instructor and dharma teacher in Kansas City. He regularly gives teachings through the Open Heart Project, the largest virtual mindfulness community in the world. Find out more about Daniel on his website and connect with him on Facebook.
You can support independent Buddhist writing by joining a community of fellow learners/practitioners at Patreon