Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thought Clouds

Our thoughts are like clouds passing through the sky. Our awareness is us, standing on the earth, watching these thought clouds move through. Sometimes we can just watch them as they speed past. Sometimes we get involved with them, enjoying their shape or color, and our mind gets carried away with them.

It may be helpful to remember that our thoughts have no more reality than a cloud. From a distance, a cloud may look very solid. When we examine it up close, however, we realize that it is only vapor. Our thoughts can seem very solid, too. When we investigate them more fully, we find that there is no real substance to them at all; they exist only for a moment as neuronal firing patterns in the brain.

The next time a disturbing thought occurs that really has you hooked into thinking it is a fact, remember that it is less substantial than a wisp of steam rising from your tea kettle.

Then re-connect yourself with the reality of the present moment by having a cup of tea...

From The Tibetan Book of the Dead, translated by W.Y. Evans-Wentz:
The visions you experience exist within your consciousness; the forms they take are determined by your past attachments, your past desires, your past fears, your past karma [actions]. These visions have no reality outside your consciousness. No matter how frightening some of them may seem they cannot hurt you. Just let them pass through your consciousness like clouds passing through an empty sky. Fundamentally they have no more reality than this.
(Excerpted from Teachings of the Buddha, edited by Jack Kornfield.)

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