The cowherd verses from MN 19 indicate two types of mindfulness, active and passive in response to strong and weak levels of the hindrances. The analogy places these in a cyclic seasonal perspective and may also indicate hindrances such as desire arise on a cyclic basis. The full moon is marked in Buddhism as a beneficial time for meditation, but what is lesser known is that every few days the moon’s influence changes as it goes through the signs of the zodiac. Some of these signs are noted for intensified sensual desire, such as scorpio and taurus. By keeping spiritual diary entries registering when the hindrances are intensified, practitioners could see if it is cyclic phenomenon.
"Just as in the last month of the Rains, in the autumn season when the crops are ripening, a cowherd would look after his cows: He would tap & poke & check & curb them with a stick on this side & that. Why is that? Because he foresees flogging or imprisonment or a fine or public censure arising from that [if he let his cows wander into the crops]. In the same way I foresaw in unskillful qualities drawbacks, degradation, & defilement, and I foresaw in skillful qualities rewards related to renunciation & promoting cleansing.”
"Just as in the last month of the hot season, when all the crops have been gathered into the village, a cowherd would look after his cows: While resting under the shade of a tree or out in the open, he simply keeps himself mindful of ‘those cows.’ In the same way, I simply kept myself mindful of 'those mental qualities.’—-MN 19