When the Clouds Dissolve

In this short extract from a recent teaching in Zurich, Sogyal Rinpoche shares a simple mediation method through which we can release and relax the mind.

It is said that, in meditation, we should neither follow the past nor anticipate the future but just leave our minds in the clear awareness of nowness. When thoughts come, we do not try to suppress or block them but neither do we have to follow after or indulge them. By just remaining present and undistracted, our thoughts and thinking all settle; like clouds dissolving, revealing a clear sky.

When thoughts and emotions settle like this, in the state of calm abiding, and you are able to remain in the state of non-distraction, then clear seeing, clarity or insight is possible.

The Essence of Meditation

Amidst the tremendous uncertainty of our lives, we all need to find a way to overcome the difficulties we encounter and so discover the peace of mind, stability and happiness that we need to face the challenges of the world today.

Happiness depends entirely upon our mind and how it perceives, so it is vital to take care of our mind. If we do not want suffering, then we must abandon the harmful actions that are the cause of suffering. And if we want happiness, then we must cultivate the wisdom and positive emotions and actions that are the causes of happiness. Most importantly, we need to understand and transform our mind. The method for realizing the nature of mind is meditation. First, we allow all thoughts and emotions to settle. From this deep peace dawns the clear insight of wisdom that can reveal the nature of reality.

What Meditation Really Is

Meditation has many stages or levels, but the true purpose and highest goal of meditation is: to awaken in us the sky-like nature of mind, and to introduce us to that which we really are, our unchanging pure awareness, which underlies the whole of life and death.

Generally, we spend our lives distracted from our true selves, in endless activity. We are fragmented into so many different aspects that we no longer know who we really are, or what aspects of ourselves we should identify with or believe in. So many contradictory voices, dictates, and feelings fight for control over our inner lives that we find ourselves scattered everywhere, in all directions, leaving nobody at home.

Meditation, then, is bringing the mind home.

Through meditation our mind begins to settle, and as it does, something extraordinary takes place: all the fragmented aspects of ourselves come home, and we become whole. Negativity and aggression, pain, suffering, and frustration are actually defused. We experience a feeling of peace, space, and freedom, and out of this settling comes a profound stillness.

As we progress further and come into touch with our true nature, it disarms and dissolves our ordinary thoughts and emotions. As this happens, tremendous love and compassion begin to shine through us, just like the sun with all its warmth. We find we are not only in touch with ourselves, but completely in touch with others also. As our tendency to grasp evaporates, the conflict, the suffering, and the pain of fragmenting and fighting with ourselves dissolve. We find ourselves content simply to be, spacious, open, awake and at ease.