All around the world, people are concerned about the weather. A large chunk of time is spent on the local weather reports. Forecasters tell everyone what the weather will be the next day.
Wherever I travel, I learn how various types of weather affects people in different countries and regions.
For example, when there is a snow storm in some places, life shuts down. Schools close, and people stay home from work because of the snow. Yet, in other places, people living in cold climates adapt so that even when heavy snow is falling, life goes on as usual. The people are prepared for snow; within minutes the snow plows clear the roads so cars and buses can get people to work or school. Putting on their heavy coats, these people trudge out in the snow to do what they need to do. It is rare that life stops in certain places because of the weather, whereas in many other places snow shuts down the city.
As I think over the people who are so strong and tough that they keep on going even when the weather is at its worst, it reminds me of how we can lead our lives. There are benefits to having an attitude of doing what we need to do despite the storms of life that come our way. These benefits can help us physically, mentally, and spiritually. This attitude can help us in our meditations, in developing positive qualities, and in leading a happy life.
Let us look at our meditations first. People who are concentrated on their purpose in life know that if it is raining, snowing, frigid cold, or burning hot, the weather will pass and at some point there will be sun. Even when winter comes, they know that sometimes it may take four to nine months, depending on where they live, but in spring or summer the flowers will bloom again. They are resigned to the long winter, which also has its surprises with warm and sunny days, but they know ultimately winter will end and summer will return. This is the kind of attitude we need to have in our meditations.
There is always sunny weather within. The sun is always shining within us. The inner Light is always there. Through meditation we can discover Light within us. When we learn this technique, we too can close our eyes and find the Light. We can learn the secret to turning darkness into Light.
When we start to learn meditation, we find thoughts distract us. We can think of distracting thoughts as bad weather. We know that when we fly in an airplane, when we take off, the weather on the ground may be cloudy, dark, rainy, or snowy. But when the airplane reaches a certain altitude, we break through the clouds and it is sunny. Meditation is like this. The sun and inner Light is always shining within. We cannot see it because we are focusing on the bad weather of our distracting thoughts!
Our thoughts are restless. They cannot stay still for a moment. It is just like the various weather fronts that flow in from different directions. We have cold fronts and warm fronts. When the two meet, the variations in temperature can cause precipitation. The warm moist air, when struck by a cold front, causes the moisture to turn from water vapor to water, and then it falls as rain. If the weather is below freezing, it falls as snow. Turbulence in the air can cause storms such as high winds, hurricanes, or tornadoes. Other weather conditions cause lightning and thunder. At any given day there can be hundreds of lightning storms taking place around the planet. This is a turbulent planet with many fluctuations of weather. This is the condition of our thoughts.
We may be trying to sit in meditation, and suddenly a thought comes. Just like when we are enjoying a sunny day and suddenly clouds roll in or raindrops start to fall, we have a choice. We can keep doing what we are doing, or we can get angry or upset about the weather, close up shop, and hibernate in our house. Similarly, when we are meditating, we may start to see some Light but then a thought comes in. We can either get involved with that thought and become distracted from meditating, or we can keep on meditating to refocus on the inner Light.
Many thoughts flow in as storm clouds to distract us from meditating. We might think about the past and all the events that happened. We may be lost in happy thoughts, or we might think of all the bad things that happened to us. Whether they are good thoughts or bad, we stop meditating. Our body may look like we’re sitting in meditation, but we’re caught up in the weather fluctuations of our thoughts.
We may be having thoughts about the future. We might be planning what we are going to do on our next vacation, what we will do at work later that day, what we want to buy, or how we want to refinance our house. We may also be upset with our boss for not giving us a raise, so we plan what we want to say to him or her when we go to work so that we are given a salary increase.
If we cannot do anything about a situation, we worry about the future. Thoughts of the future cloud over our head, preventing us from being peaceful and meditating properly. All these thoughts of the future distract us from meditating.
While meditating, we may get thoughts of anger, violence, and ego. These are like storm clouds to block out the inner sun from our view.
Anger is like a tornado that sweeps us off our feet and brings ruin to everything in its path. A tornado is unpredictable. Weather forecasters have a way to track and follow a hurricane to warn people it’s coming. This gives them time to board up their homes and go to safer grounds. But a tornado spins into existence suddenly, with not enough notice for the people in its immediate vicinity. Those far away can know a tornado has started and can take shelter, but even then, no one knows which direction a tornado will travel. Suddenly it appears, and within seconds it has torn up houses, buildings, trees, and swept animal off their feet.
Anger works in the same way as a tornado. It suddenly appears out of the blue to upset the calm, peaceful, sunny day. When it comes, whoever is in close proximity to the person afflicted by anger has to watch out and get out of the way.
Anger is destructive. It may flow out in harsh and hurtful words. We know that the thoughts of an angry person are potent and can be felt by others. It can even flow out as violent acts. The devastation that angers leaves is often irreparable. We may apologize later, but the wounds inflicted by harsh words may last a lifetime. If we get angry thoughts in our meditation, we have cut ourselves off from seeing the Light within. We have chosen to become affected by the weather of our mind instead of enjoying the sunny skies within.
Another big obstacle to our meditations is the ego. The ego is such that it believes that it is the cause of all the weather on the planet. We may be meditating, and suddenly we think we are the doers. We think the sun rises and sets because of us. We think that we are the doer responsible for whatever happens in life. We no longer think that Mother Nature is in charge of the weather. Our ego makes us think we are the doer.
We believe that we are the cause of everything that happens in this world. If it rains, we say it is because we washed our car today. If it is sunny, we say it is because we took our umbrella with us. If it is rainy, we say it is because we forgot our umbrella.
We say that while we are having good weather, our aunt in another state is having bad weather because she did not send you a birthday present. We relate everything that happens to our own selves. We believe everything that happens is due to us.
The ego makes us think we are the best and the greatest. Ego causes us to cast cloudy shadows over everyone else. We feel that we are the sun and are the center of the universe. We believe no one else is as good as us, and we cast long shadows, bringing gloom to others, making them feel worthless. Once the ego floats in, we are caught up in thinking of ourselves and forget to focus on the sunny skies within.
What is the remedy for the bad weather of our thoughts? Once we know that thoughts will try to send us distracting weather to block out the sun, we can become vigilant. We need to know that when we sit for meditation, our thoughts will send all kinds of clouds, whether fluffy or filled with stormy weather.
Our job is to take the example of the people who live in Chicago when there is a snow storm. They keep on going, whether to work or school, and only shut down when it is absolutely too dangerous to be out.
Keep doing what you are supposed to do and know that the bad weather will pass. When a cloud comes, keep focusing within. Do not let thoughts distract your attention from meditating. Let the clouds move on. No cloud is stationary. The winds of the earth keep blowing over the land. Similarly, no matter what thoughts arise, whether of the past or future, whether anger, violence or ego, they will pass. Do not get involved with them. Let them flow on. If we can do that, we will have fruitful meditations.
Whether it is sunny, rainy, snowy, warm, stormy, or freezing, we need to keep doing what we are supposed to do and stay focused on the sunny weather within. We should be focused on meditating. If we can do this, we will find that our meditations will be filled with sunshine. The passing clouds and bad weather of our thoughts will not bother us. We will find that we won’t let the stormy weather of distracting thoughts pull our attention away.
We will find our relationships will improve and run smoothly because we will not let the tornadoes of our thoughts cause disharmony and arguments.
Our life will be filled with peace and the eternal sunshine within.