One day, high up in the snow-lined ridges of the Himalayas, a wandering yogi came upon a derelict house and thought it wise to shelter there the night, as storm clouds were gathering over the peaks and the air was chilling to the bone. The house was deserted, and full of dust and cobwebs. He rolled out his mat in the corner of a front room and gazed out of the window as the storm approached.
A deep feeling of sorrow darkened the yogis heart. I have failed in my sadhana, he thought sadly. Twenty years of intense meditation and still no fruits, no peace, no bliss. My mind is as wild and unruly as it was when I first started. I have failed to conquer it. He drifted in and out of sleep, listening to the howling wind and rain in his dreams.
Around midnight the ghost of the house discovered the sleeping yogi. Aha! he exclaimed in glee and rattled his chains. What fun to give him a fright. The ghost moaned into the ear of the yogi and rattled his chains loudly.
The yogi opened his eyes. A haunted house! Theres an important message here. Yes, my mind is just like this ghost wailing, howling, rattling its chains. He contemplated this idea for a few moments and then drifted back into slumber.
The ghost was aghast. This had never happened before, not in three hundred years of successful haunting, of watching his victims fly screaming out of the gate. He slumped down beside the snoring yogi and a great depression came over him. I am a failure, my haunting skills have completely left me. Oh woe! What will become of me? After a while he picked up his shackles and chains, and trundled off down the corridor.
The morning brought no relief from the wild storm. The yogi awoke and gazed out at the swirling world. My mind is just like this storm, he pondered, and gave up the thought of doing any meditation. He stretched his stiff body and decided to spend the morning exploring the house.
The melancholy ghost was sobbing in the attic when he heard footsteps climbing the stairs. Feeling curious, he traipsed meekly after the yogi, along the rambling corridors, into each dusty room, and even up into the turrets. The yogi was aware of the ghost, but remained unafraid. Yes, my mind is just like this ghost, roaming the corridors of a derelict house, lost in the cobwebs of its own creation. They went down to an overgrown graveyard beyond the garden walls and sat in the rain amidst the old grey tombstones. Suddenly a strong thought hit the yogi Why is the mind like a ghost? Because it has no resting place.
Of course! exclaimed the yogi. No resting place!
No resting place! echoed the ghost mournfully and rattled his chains.
The yogi raised his arms to the grey skies. I have tried to conquer my mind through force, through suppression. I have watched it cowering like a frightened animal. I have seen it retaliate by creating huge upheavals inside me. But I have never thought to be kind, to be a friend, to give the mind a resting place.
He closed his eyes to meditate on this revelation and things became clear. The hearth of the heart is the resting place for the mind. There, instead of roaming endlessly life after life, the mind reconnects with its source and becomes peaceful, blissful, contented. Its fractures begin to heal and then true yoga begins.
Listening intently, the ghost was puzzled. Although he was a spirit, hed had no spiritual training whatsoever and had to grapple with these concepts. But the words resting place had struck a chord deep inside and he wanted to learn more.
The storm cleared and it was time for the yogi to depart. As he bid farewell to the old house and headed off down the path, he felt the breezy step of the ghost close behind.