Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teachings
The sun is there, even when it is behind the clouds.
- ‘Missed schedule’ says the computer. It is an opportunity to let go of annoyance, says me. Why did this not send? I am not sure, but the new bell from a Thai temple is chiming in the wind, and the birds are calling to one another before the storm. Most is right and good in the universe. And this will reach you when it needs to, I suppose. Apologies, thanks, cheers ~
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Today the skies are clear and the sun is warm. I am outside. It is a great place to sit and be peaceful. The birds are chirping the wind is blowing through the trees, the first signs of spring are in the air. Those might even be buds on the trees. And, the leaf blowers are going off like crazy.
I remember my mother used to go nuts about them, marching down the street yelling at Mr. Manfredini, the poor guy, because as she said three guys are chasing one leaf around the backyard and polluting the whole neighborhood.
So that is what I am hearing right now, and envisioning the one leaf and the men with blowers, disturbing my otherwise picture perfect scene. There is grouchiness attached to this thought, because they are disturbing MY peace. And, since there aren’t any leaves on the trees to even be on the ground right now, I am pretty sure these guys are causing unnecessary suffering to me, which Buddhism teaches is something to be avoided. There is a distinction, suffering, which is part of life and to be endured, and unnecessary suffering. Hmm, I must be discerning with my reaction.
I am trying to make it an opportunity, knowing I cannot control my meditation environment, just my response to it. Written as a second blower to the east is getting fired up; I am surrounded. Holy moly, there goes a third. Ok, it is officially a chorus.
I am going to turn that frown upside down, and here’s how: It is kind of like the clear sky meditation. My teacher tells me about this too. The analogy is best understood on a rainy gray Chicago day; I might call it “Lake Forest effect.” I’m afraid we have a few in the pipeline this month…
The sky is overcast, the clouds hanging oppressively low. Low hanging cloud cover can feel like a gloomy mindset, with thoughts and moods closing in on you. The clouds (your thoughts) feel limiting, like a defining boundary, and you can’t see past them. But you must trust that behind them is a vast blue sky. YOU are the vast and limitless sky, your thoughts and feelings are just the weather.
“In our society, there is so much fear, suffering, violence, despair, and confusion. But there is also, at the same time, the beautiful blue sky. Sometimes the blue of the sky reveals itself to us entirely. Sometimes it reveals half of itself, sometimes just a little bit of blue peaks through, and sometimes none at all. Storms, clouds and fog hide the blue sky. The kingdom of heaven can be hidden by a cloud of ignorance or a tempest of anger, violence and fear. But if we practice mindfulness, it’s possible to be aware even if the weather is very foggy, cloudy or stormy, the blue sky is always there for us above the clouds.”
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
~ Thich Nhát Hánh
Practice this perspective today, and every stormy day. Be an observer. Know that the weather will go just as naturally as it comes. Below are reflections on this I enjoy: a recorded meditation by Jack Kornfield, and a song by Sara Thomsen. It’s just weather.