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I was reading a bit from The Brothers Karamazov and watching as the wind wafted through the trees and it got me thinking. Our thoughts and mental states are a lot like leaves sprouting forth and falling from branches of synapses and neurotransmitters. Seemingly countless and often colourful, we think of them as solid, immutable aspects of who we are, arising solely of our own volition and free of any bias. But that's an illusion, really, and we fail to see what fragile and conditioned things they truly are, neglecting to note the rays of sunshine and drops of rain that nourish them, overlooking the cycle of arising and ceasing that the seasons govern, and failing to notice how easily those leaves are swept up and blown about this way and that by the winds of gain and loss, status and disgrace, censure and praise, pleasure and pain, like and dislike. And over the years (especially thanks to Buddhism), I've come to learn that, instead of simply following those leaves in whatever direction they may flit about, it's good to try and stay rooted where we are, in the present moment, regardless of which direction the winds are blowing in order to see things a little more clearly and with a little more equanimity.