Quiet in There
Sylvia Boorstein's book It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness in its chapter "Larry King and the Swami" offers a neat metaphor for mindfulness:
... I remember watching Larry King interviewing a swami in the Hindu tradition. I don't remember exactly what the swami said, but I remember his demeanor was calm and unruffled. Although the phone calls from viewers were often either antagonistic or, at the very least, skeptical, the swami kept a clear and contented presence about himself, responding to each question with clarity, precision, and even quiet humor. Larry King is an interviewer known for the directness of his style and his probing questions. At one point he leaned across his desk and looked into the swami's unblinking eyes. He said to him, "How did you get it so quiet in there?" The swami replied, "It is quiet in there. We just all ruffle it up so much."
Boorstein continues, after a description of an exercise where the reader just sits comfortably for 15 minutes and experiences the quiet:
Fundamentally, the swami is right: it is quiet in there, until it gets stirred up. But there is no willfulness or purposefulness about stirring it up. We don't mean to complicate life for ourselves. It's not naughtiness of mind; other people's minds don't stay quiet any better than ours do. It's in the nature of mind to be stirred by confusing energies, like winds that blow back and forth across the surface of a clear pool, disturbing the visibility. Becoming a meditator doesn't mean stopping the ripples of the waves. Probably totally realized masters can see through all the ripples all the time. Regular seekers like myself are really happy if they can remember that they're just ripples and that there is another side.