“Breathing in, I make myself still, like a pond on a mountain; breathing out, I reflect things as they are.” The short version is to quietly note “still water” as we breathe in and “reflecting” as we breathe out.
The photo beautifully illustrates the point of this stanza. Lake Tahoe had wind, so the water was rough, not reflecting the mountains that ring it, but in the protected little inlet the water is calm and the boat perfectly reflected.
When we are agitated by opinions and emotions we cannot see clearly what is actually happening. Our perceptions are colored by our stories; then our reactivity can push the process along, causing further distortions and difficulties.
If we can notice our reactivity just like we notice a lake surface made rough by the wind, we can then pause, take a calming, conscious breath and see what is happening from a more neutral stance. Our response can be wiser. We won’t necessarily change our opinion, but how we express it may be more skillful, including compassion and empathy.