As I listened to todays guided meditation by Bhikkhuni Vimala at the Blue Lotus Temple, I had an interesting synchronicity moment. As she was explaining to all of us about the rising of thoughts, it came to my mind that these thoughts are like clouds in an otherwise blue sky. And while normally, we refer to this as monkey-mind, this time Bhikkhuni proceeded to paint the image of clouds coming and passing away. Exactly the thought and image that had just come to my mind!
I realize now that this imagery is perhaps far better than the monkey mind analogy that we often use when speaking about meditation. Monkey-mind infers thoughts that are jumping around and playing, being mischievous and wreaking havoc. It also presents an image of thoughts that need to be corralled, managed and subdued. And I don’t know about you, but a bunch of crazed monkeys in my head is not my idea of meditation! Right there shows the aversion (dosa) and struggle that any of us can create by thinking this way. Whereas clouds are usually in the beautiful blue sky and we have no aversion to them. Yes, sometimes they turn dark, and storms ensue with torrential rains. But we know that these also pass and reveal the beautiful blue sky beyond, and even the occasional rainbow.
Sitting with our mind, there is no need to wrestle with anything. Being a mindful and silent observer, and allowing these clouds to come and go the same as we would laying in a field on a beautiful day. And if those clouds turn dark and gray, we only need to be aware of the gift that this rain offers all living things. There would be no life with this breath and without the rain. Even to see that the thunderous lightning is merely energy the air we breath, filling it with positive ions like vitamins for our breath.
I thank Bhikkhuni for this wonderful description for observing our minds, and hope that next time you sit you will give it a try. Be at peace with yourself, and enjoy the gentle tranquility of each passing cloud.