blue sky, storms, clouds, and our minds

19 01 2010

In the 19 years that I have been a student of Buddhism and have practiced meditation, the most common way I have listened to teachers describe the nature of our minds is that it is like a vast blue sky.

Thoughts and emotions (really intense thoughts), they teach, are like clouds or storms passing across the vast blue sky.

When a storm front or clouds are passing through, the blue sky is still there, its essential nature remains the same, but it is covered over for a time.

In the same way, the essential nature of the mind doesn’t ever change, but sometimes, our thoughts and feelings can make us feel less than clear and calm.

My sister, @jillwiles, took this photo this morning from her house and the caption read:”A front was moving in this morning”

It reminded me how we experience our relationship with our own minds.

Sometimes we can see things coming on the horizon, sometimes things hit us out of the clear blue, sometimes we feel foggy, sometimes we experience our minds as open, vast blue yonder, not a cloud for miles.

Our minds are a lot like the weather.

And like we are looking at this photograph right now, we can watch what arises in our minds and simply notice it.

In a culture of do, do, do, it really is a very powerful thing to simply notice what arises within you and simply be present with it and watch it.

Things are always moving. Each thought and emotion, like clouds and storm fronts, has its own timing for how long it will stay around before finally moving on.

This is a photo from a meditation retreat that I was on a few years ago in Colorado and it reminds me of the sense of internal space we have available to us in blue sky mind.

Keep the vision of the vast blue sky alive within you.

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9 responses

19 01 2010
Julie

Perfect reminder for me this morning, to remember the vast blue sky that is always present. We, here in the Bay Area, are experiencing a wonderful parade of very wet storms with some much needed rain. It makes me wonder about the storms of our minds and what they offer…
Blessings to you.

19 01 2010
La La

yep.

20 01 2010
emma

Blue sky keeps me grounded, sane and joyful. Too many days of grey and I become a very scary person. I’ve tried living places where there are more grey skies than blue. I now know to never live in those places again.
Thank you for this.

20 01 2010
whollyjeanne

now this makes so much sense . . . and it’s so comforting. i study neuroplasticity, neuroeconomics, and epigenetics, and embodiment as a hobby, and somewhere along the way, i read that it takes an average of 90 seconds for an intense emotion to work its way through your system. so, in other words, count to 10 nine times to give the storms a chance to move on through and let the vast blue sky rule again.

21 01 2010
Kathleen

Love this. Thanks!

21 01 2010
Kate T.W.

Thanks for getting me to imagine blue sky 🙂 I’m smiling, because as I was coming out of my last meditation I had the image of riding storm clouds… That’s fascinating, also, WhollyJeanne, about the 90 seconds average.

21 01 2010
Lindsey

I love this – just rereading it and am thinking of how you write about something I think and write about all the time … the skies, the heavens, the clouds, and the ways in which they both echo and inspire my thoughts and feelings.
Thank you.

22 01 2010
Square-Peg Karen

Oh! I love this visual description – the best way for me to remember. Thank you so much.

28 01 2010
marguerite manteau-rao

Beautiful, Bindu! Yes the empty blue sky is a great metaphor for deep, still mind. This is why I have it as my header image (with tiny bird to represent how little usual view is compared to vast possibilities of mind over mind :))

Thank you for your tweet by the way!

With much metta,

marguerite

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