Clouds are not the sky, yet they have the ability to set themselves in such a way, from our position on the ground our view of it can be blocked. Clouds blocking our vision are random. It's not personal, though circumstantially it can seem that way. It's merely clouds, coming and going all by themselves. We are powerless... helpless and without authority over what's going on, far above our heads.
In a very similar way, thoughts and thinking are not who we authentically are. Memories, recollections, resentments, projections, fantasies, anxieties, aspirations, goals, hopes, and expectations, can block our ability to be fully available to our present moment experience. Because of the way thoughts narrate and project stories, they can be very convincing. Thoughts are coming and going all by themselves. We are powerless... helpless and without authority over what the aspects of self... the ID and Super-ego are actively... not passively choosing to project upon the sky-like nature of Self.
What's tricky about thoughts is that we can mistake them for so-called "Feelings." In fact, thoughts moving so quickly in the mind, spinning around the axis of ego, like a rock at the end of a string... AKA obsessing, gives off a sensation of being a feeling, when in reality its a thought moving at great velocity. There was a time when I was super depressed, and something intuitively arose on the meditation cushion, and dropped in the question... "Are you honestly feeling depressed, or are the thoughts thinking you depressed?" That was a jarring moment. I was like, "Where'd that come from?" My teacher used to refer to our "Intuitive nature," as the "Inner mentor..." or
the "Inner friend," that if we listen deeply, we can notice It's presence, and observe that It doesn't travel with thoughts. This can be difficult to explain, which is why the most valuable thing we can do is have a consistent and dedicated meditation practice.
If we had a dog, we wouldn't just work with it once, and expect it to cooperate with us. We'd work with it all the time, so that there was a seamless flow, were instead of leading the leash, it was beside us. As a matter or practice, we could learn a lot from a skillful dog handler, in how to work with our mind. Untrained heart and mind, like an untrained dog, even if not very big, has a way of dragging people in a lot of unintended directions, based on its own fickle nature.
This brings me to an interaction, when I was sharing time and having tea with Khen Jampa Rinpoché from Sakya Monastery. Following the traditional practice, I asked the same question, over and over: “Please Rinpoché, give me a teaching on the mind.” the first 5 or 6 times that I asked, he avoided giving me a direct teaching. But eventually, because I didn't give up on the 7th time I asked him, instantly he turned to me, gesturing with his index finger, bringing it to his ear. He said “Thoughts are like clouds that come in through the ear... but instead of letting it pass through and come out the other side, we mistakenly allow our attention to reach out, grab the thought, and pull it down inside of us. We hold on to the thought with our attention and in many ways we make ourselves sick and suffer a lot. The practice is very simple Zen monk... do not hold or grasp the thought. Just let it pass through. That is One Way we could have compassion for our self.” We sat quietly after that finishing tea. There was nothing left to say. There was nothing left to do. There was nowhere else to go. There was no-one else to be.
Do not allow thought clouds disturb the skylike nature of mind. We can be happier in our head and heart in This Way. Please confirm for the authentic Self, that like the sky that can that be filled with an endless number of clouds, is not dirtied... stained... or affected by the clouds that are floating below. Clouds, lightening, and thunder do not tear the sky.
一We Are the Practice Itself