The clouds can exist only because of the sky. Without sky there are no clouds, yet the essential nature of the sky is never altered by the clouds that arise and float through it. Like clouds, thoughts and emotions seem to arise and exist, but that is because of the background of Awareness. Awareness was first, Awareness is like the sky. Without the preexisting nature of Awareness, thoughts and emotions not only could not exist but would not have a source.
This truth is like understanding the linkage between fruit and tree. The banana or peach has a source. The fruit did magically appear through the wonders of Nature, yet those wonders work through a predictable and understandable process. A tree brings forward the fruit as a result of cause, conditions, and results. The tree had flowers that were pollinated by bees. Those two conditions came together to create a result: a pollinated flower. Given more necessary conditions (temperature, rain, sunlight, and a growing season), the flower will transform into a piece of fruit. But all of this required two more primordial conditions: a seed and the ground. These, in turn, also required proper conditions for the seed to take root, grow adequately, in ground that was fertile and receptive to the life cycle of the seed to become a tree.
Like the fruit, clouds require causes and conditions in order for clouds to be born, have their cycle, and dissipate or precipitate. Guess what? Thoughts and emotions do too.
Two things are important to know, if one wants to lead of life of increased awareness and ease. 1. Everything has causes and conditions. If one wants to change a situation, a thought, a judgement, a jealousy, a moment of stress, then one must change either the causes or the conditions in which these things have arisen. And, since conditions are harder to change (because they are often bigger than one can control, or involve the life stream of others, or one’s personal temporary benefit will be at the detriment or harm of others – thus be lastingly to the harm of oneself), then the easiest and most effective was to change a challenging situation is to transform one’s mind about it. In other words, the cause of jealousy is not that someone has something that you want, but that you don’t have something. Well then, let that go, celebrate someone else’s happiness, and the jealousy will evaporate like a bubble in the sky.
2. Happiness is easy. Negativity is a lot of work. : It takes effort to be mindless, thoughtless, harmful, arrogant, deceitful, manipulating, critical, petty, impatient, or rude. One has to go against the biological predisposition for goodness, as well as neural pathways that reward kindness, altruism, and harmony. Impatience only creates irritation in adults and creates fear and shame in children. But happiness, ease, flow, joy and the positive energy and vitality that come from these are present immediately as we live from kindness, goodness, care, and helping others.
If the causes of our conditions are positive (because we have brought positivity to others), then the conditions that arise in our life will be beneficial. The benefit might be as teachings or opportunities to apply goodness and harmony or selflessness and patience, or be opportunities to celebrate that you – the ego – is doing nothing but living the great flow of Awareness. Because that is the first cause, then the conditions, thoughts, emotions, responses, and inspirations come from there.
Be like the sky. Clouds come and go. “Be aware of everything and involved in no thing.”
*This meditation is highly recommended to all level of practitioner, and dovetails excellently with Step 11: Ground of Being in the Entry practice.
Downloadable podcast: Intermediate: Clouds and Sky