In my experience meditation can be a bit like snorkelling.
As a beginner I am constantly scanning the waters, actively looking for something interesting, or new. Like a tourist, I am unaware of how my presence has changed the environment.
With practice however, I learn that when I stop searching and stay still, the landscape fully reveals itself. The fish no longer adapt to my presence and get on with their lives. I become a local. I start noticing their actions, the currents, the position of the seaweed. I start understanding the way everything is in relationship.
For example, I may be annoyed at my son for speaking so loudly to his friends, ‘knowing’ that he has spoiled my mood. Or I may be aware that what I heard was in fact filtered through frustration that had already arisen inside me as I’m struggling to articulate this blog post – first came the irritation, then it attached itself to the noise.
With regular practice I begin to have a clearer view of my internal landscape, be less reactive and take greater ownership of my life.