Mindfulness is all about clearing the clouds so you can experience the clear blue sky and the warm sunshine.
The clear blue sky and sunshine is always, always there, except that sometimes the clouds cover it up.
Yet, it is the clouds that are impermanent, not the sky or the sun.
The sky and the sun is always there. But the clouds are always shifting.
And therein lies the key to understanding 3 things:
1. The True Self (or True Nature of the Human Being)
2. The False Self
3. The role of Mindfulness
Buddhists liken the True Self (True Nature) to the clear blue sky with the sun shining.
They then liken thoughts to the clouds in the sky.
And so thoughts (clouds) are simply phenomenon that pass across the awareness of the clear blue sky (the True Self).
The thoughts, when identified with, create 2 painful outcomes:
1. A broken self-view: Beliefs about the self that are contrary to What You Really Are. Also known as the false self.
2. A broken world-view: Beliefs about life that are based on fear. Also known as Maya, or illusions that are contrary to Truth.
However, if thoughts are not identified with, they simply cross the clear blue sky and go their way. The clear blue sky with sunshine is always there, and no painful outcomes are created, no suffering is created.
Let’s see how this works.
Imagine that the Human Being’s True Nature is a clear, cloudless sky.
A clear sky where the light and warmth of the sun shines right through, always…
…and vision is completely unobstructed, full of light, always.
The clear sky full of sunlight = the True Self.
However, just about the only time that most of humans experience this True Nature, this True Self, is as a little child.
As a child, there are many blissful moments when the True Nature shines right through.
And no matter what happens, no matter what kind of clouds cross the child’s sky, the clouds move on, and the sky quickly clears right back up and the the sun shines again, and again, and again, regardless of actual circumstances…
Regardless of actual circumstances, the child is blissful.
Clear sky, sunshine.
Sure, even for this child, there are some cloudy days…
And some very, very cloudy days…
But each time, the clouds come and go, and the sun is back out…
Regardless of actual circumstances, the child returns to bliss.
The child doesn’t identify with the clouds, and so the clouds blow right on, naturally.
But then, something begins to happen as the child grows up…
The child begins to become conditioned.
The way this works is that the world begins to reward or punish the child, based on cloud behaviour.
The rewards can be being given affection, attention, food, love, friendship, money, and so on.
The punishment can be being denied approval, validation, attention, affection, love, food, friendship, money, and so on.
And so the child begins to cling to certain clouds, and try to escape certain clouds.
The child begins to think more and more and more about clouds.
The child begins to anticipate cloud behaviour, and plan how to escape certain clouds or attract certain clouds, all based on the system of reward and punishment attached to these clouds.
Remember, clouds are thoughts, in this analogy we are using.
The clear, blue sky, is True Nature, divine nature.
And so the clear sky is always there, always pristine (innocent), always untouched by the clouds (the clouds never touch it, they only obscure it). It is unchanged, day in, day out, immutable.
Thoughts, on the other hand, like clouds, are forever coming and going, forever changing. That is their nature. And if you don’t bother them, they come and go. They only stay when you focus and attach to them. But left alone, when you let go, they go. They can never stay the same for long. They last but a few seconds, before they disappear – unless you choose to attach to them, identify with them. And like clouds, thoughts are flimsy, mere wisps of smoke, without substance.
If there were no such thing as social conditioning, based on a system of reward and punishment, the child would remain forever free, even as an adult.
But alas, conditioning happens to all of us.
And so in this way, we begin to attach to certain clouds, resist certain clouds.
We start to follow the clouds.
We move around with the clouds.
Pretty soon, we have forgotten all about the clear blue sky and the sunlight.
We have become the clouds.
We have identified with the clouds, created a false self, and a fearful world. In our mind.
And we did it all because of fearing punishment, and fearing the loss of rewards.
They say that everyone is a Sleeping Buddha, waiting to become an Awakened Buddha.
They say that Christ Consciousness lies dormant in all Human Beings.
Not as a religion, not as Buddhism or Christianity or any religion, but as the natural Universal state we all start with, and can reclaim by dropping limiting conditioning, being like a child again, even as we keep the practical skills of being an adult:
They say that all humans are Divinity Incarnate, but asleep. That this is part of the challenge of the Game of Life.
Awakening is the process of remembering the clear blue sky and the sunlight.
It is the process of dropping the identification with the thought-stream, the false self and the broken world view.
And that is what the practice of mindfulness does.
It has nothing to do with being “good” or “bad”.
Yes, you may be tempted to prefer the “good” ones and to hold onto them, as they are less painful. But ultimately, you are better off not identifying with either.
All thoughts are based on past conditioning. They are all just “bags from the past”. The present moment is far more vast than any thought can ever hope to be, far richer and deeper than any thought can ever be. And it is based on the Here, Now, on Reality, whereas all thoughts are based on the past, an imaginary place held only in the personal mind of the beholder.
However, mindfulness is not about eliminating thoughts, eliminating clouds. Not at all.
Mindfulness is about ending identification with clouds, both “good” clouds and “bad” clouds.
Not that which the eye can see, but that whereby the eye can see: know that to be Brahman the eternal, and not what people here adore;
Not that which the ear can hear, but that whereby the ear can hear: know that to be Brahman the eternal, and not what people here adore;
Not that which speech can illuminate, but that by which speech can be illuminated: know that to be Brahman the eternal, and not what people here adore;
Not that which the mind can think, but that whereby the mind can think: know that to be Brahman the eternal, and not what people here adore.
Brahman is Hindu word for “the ultimate reality underlying all phenomena”.
In plain English:
The true self is not what can be seen, but that which enables and is aware of sight itself
The true self is not what can be heard, but that which enables and is aware of sound itself
The true self is not what can speak, but that which enables and is aware of speech itself
The true self is not what can think or be thought about, but that which enables and is aware of mind itself
In other words, identifying with the clouds (the thoughts) is an outcome of conditioned love (reward and punishment based on judgement of good and bad), and it results in a person becoming who they think they should be, instead of What They Really Are.
That was a sample taken from the course, Radical Mindfulness Made Simple in 5 Easy Steps.