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Playing with Clouds

At last the clouds have cleared, and we are experiencing days when the sky is blue and the radiant sun is shining down on us. Seeing a clear, blue sky invariably makes us feel at ease and expansive. We tend to feel lighter and brighter. In meditation, the blue sky is sometimes used as a metaphor for the true mind; the mind that is calm, clear and expansive. Thoughts, feelings and experiences are like the clouds that move across the sky. When the thoughts are light, the feelings pleasant and the experiences joyful, we don’t tend to notice the clouds. However, there are times when there are so many clouds that we can no longer see the blue sky. Sometimes, perhaps, those clouds are so dark and threatening that we lose all sense of the blue sky, but it is always there, behind the clouds.

I remember one time travelling at Christmas to see my wife’s family in Brazil. On the morning we left it was dark and grey. Once we boarded the plane and took to the air, very quickly we moved beyond the clouds and all you could see out of the window was blue sky. It is the same with the mind. We can have a mind filled with ‘clouds’ of fear, worry and anxiety, but behind those thoughts is the blue sky of the calm, quiet, expansive mind. We don’t have to go searching for calmness, it is always there, even when obscured by clouds.

As we practise our Tai Chi, the slow breathing is like a gentle breeze that moves the clouds onwards. The more we practise, the easier it becomes to allow the breath to clear the mind so that we can connect with our innate sense of calmness and expansion. Just as the blue sky is always there, so too is the calm, quiet mind. It may become obscured by stress but it is worth reminding ourselves that no matter how we might be feeling in any moment, beyond that feeling is a sense of inner peace and clarity that is a fundamental part of who we are.

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