Day 13 of 30: Blue Sky
Many analogies and visualizations can be helpful in supporting your practices, especially if you are just starting out. I’ll continue to offer different ones because each has its own nuances and some may not resonate with you. For example, lots of agrarian-type imagery and language in the original teachings of the Buddha because that’s what people knew: discontent and unease are like riding in an ox-cart with an unbalanced wheel (if you have a thought about the present-day equivalent of this one, that’d be helpful so please leave suggestions in the comments …).
Today, as you continue to explore and redefine your relationship with your thoughts, the invitation is to imagine a clear blue sky. I recall as a young child spending summers with my grandparents in rural Virginia in the USA. The sun was hot. The dirt was red clay. The air smelled sweet, the fruit ripening on the trees. And my cousins and I lying in the fields amongst the caterpillars and the grasshoppers looking up at the sky.
Clear blue sky. Peaceful emptiness. Sometimes your mind can be like that. As time passes, thoughts arise, one or more, clouds passing, gently pushed by the wind. They move and shift. Like clouds, thoughts have little inherent weight.
The blue sky is the spaciousness of your awareness. A thought becomes conscious to you when it arises in you awareness. (Until then, where is it? Maybe in the sky of some other place … ?). There is a fundamental distinction between awareness and what it holds so that it can be known to you, and the content that arises in your awareness. Imagine too in this scenario that you are in control of the wind. At your will, you can increase the force of the wind to hurry each cloud from one end of the frame to the opposite, gently sweeping the thoughts out of your awareness. Letting them go.
If it speaks to you, today’s invitation is to give this analogy a try as a tool. First, set your timer for your desired duration. For the first few minutes, until you notice a deepening in your level of calm and focus, rest your awareness on the felt sense of your breathing. Once you notice a calming, shift your attention to your thoughts as they arise. As each thought arises to your awareness, picture it as a cloud coming into your view. If you don’t get hooked by its content, each thought is as light and airy as a cloud. Gently raise the wind behind the thought and visualize it moving out of the visible expanse of your sky. It has gone. Your awareness remains. And then another thought arises. Repeat this process until your timer signals the end of your practice today.
What was that like for you? Does the big sky mind analogy work for you? Does it help? Did you notice any challenges treating certain types of thoughts as clouds? Please share what you notice and any other observations in the comments below so everyone can benefit from your experiences. Please raise awareness of this content by sharing it using the social media icons adjacent to it. Please reach out to me if I can support you.
See you tomorrow!
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