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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Clear Mind, The Moon and Clouds

Clear mind is like the full moon in the sky. Sometimes clouds come and cover it, but the moon is always behind them. Clouds go away, then the moon shines brightly. So don't worry about clear mind: it is always there. When thinking comes, behind it is clear mind. When thinking goes, there is only clear mind. Thinking comes and goes, comes and goes, You must not be attached to the coming or the going.

-Zen Master Seung Sahn

James's comment: It's an issue of balance in all things. Sometimes I only focus on the attachment part and not so much the rejection or judgement of thoughts. I forget the yin and yang nature of existence. In these moments I think that attachment is the bigger issue refusing to acknowledge that aversion is just as bad a problem. I tend to judge too much, criticize and lament over the "blocking clouds" of what I perceive to be "unjust pain and suffering." I go into panic mode when the clouds cover the "clear mind" thinking I have lost it for good because of the blocking clouds and that for made up reason I am a failure for not preventing clouds from blocking the moon!! It is a "God/perfectionist" complex that somehow I can prevent the inevitable. Insanity.

It is also a sort sightedness where I just try to force the "unpleasant" things/clouds out of my thoughts/life. It is in trying to force the clouds to move that they reactively cling to the moon of the clear mind even more and/or more clouds move in to create an even more dense fog!

During these times I forget the idea of impermanence that this will all pass eventually and on its own time and that I should just go with the flow and ride it out. To be patient, breath deeply and remember that clear mind is always there no matter what the "situation" may seem like.

It is easy for me to become swept up in the suffering, cry and pout about the perceived blockage and "unjustice." I forget that suffering is inevitable and that for some reason I am better then everyone else and shouldn't have to "suffer" so much. OUCH!! My instinct is always to fight it and fighting a cloud is a waste of time and mental energy. Better to watch it all unfold and remain neutral and wait for it to pass and remind myself that stability and peace are always there. Even and especially in times when it seems that I have been forgotten and lost.

I hope this rant made sense!

-Peace to all beings-

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Sean said...

This Post hit home more than any other post has. I also worry too much about losing something that really can't be lost. It's so easy to write this in a post, or meditation with friends. But I think to really just "go with the flow" is perhaps the first step into Happy Buddhism. I think that far too often I'm too thoughtful for my own good. Nitpicking my own defilements without seeing my own clouded mind.

"James" said...


I'm glad that I could help out a bit in sharing my journey with you. I am too thoughtful as well and yet I try not to judge myself too much as that just creates more negative energy and karma.

I want to change, yes but not at the expense of beating myself up to where I don't feel worthy(or capable)for the good change.

Basically I swing too much (as most of us do) between attachment and aversion. I am slowly being more able to stay in balance for longer and longer each day.

Keep up the great work and enjoy walking The Path!!

isaiah said...

The notion of Clear Mind resonates deeply with me and was such a blessed gift from the writing's f my friend Meredith at "Graceful Presence.'

This, too is a welcomed gift..thank you.

Visual-Voice said...

accept each moment without harsh judgement. I've heard there's no such thing as a "bad" meditation. the most important thing is to sit down and do it.

"James" said...


I agree that there isn't a "bad" meditation. All meditation is helpful in one way or another.

"James" said...


I adore Meredith as well. :)

dragonflyfilly said...

hi there BB,
....i wonder...isn't thinking about pain and suffering as unjust being judgemental of something that just IS ??? ...I don't know...just a thought.

..certainly you are not alone in the judging...we are TRAINED to be judgmental from the day we are born, our homes, our schools, our churches...all in their way ... we are constantly comparing, and how can you not be judgemental when you are making comparrisons? it is up to us individually to UNtrain ourselves...*chuckle* this is a huge challenge, yes?

i HAVE learned that the pain passes more quickly when i embrace it...a lesson that is not easy to teach, and even less easy to learn...

love and light,

i love the photo in this Post!

dragonflyfilly said...

p.s. i meant i love the photo of the clouds and sun/moon? in YOUR post!

Trev Diesel said...

This picture is gorgeous and is a beautiful visual for your post. Thanks, James.

"James" said...


I think that you are spot on. Seeing suffering as unjust is yet another judgement. It is better to acknowledge it and embrace it as you say and watch it fade.

Thank-you for your presence.


It is gorgeous. I love the moonlight, the night, the clouds. All is perfect and beautiful as it exists. :)

"James" said...


Yeah, isn't that beautiful?!! Especially the rainbow aura around it. SPECTACULAR!!!

dragonflyfilly said...

...yeah, and i guess if more people could understand how karma works, and how when one tries to eradicate pain we just produce more pain, like a cancer that matasticizes, if only we could stop multiplying our bad karma....

actually, i don't always do it, but when i remember to it is amazing how well this works: when someone has done something that has hurt me, instead of re-acting and seeking revenge, i light a candle for them, and i write a note to that person, which may go something like this..."thank you _____(name of person) for helping me burn off some of my negative Karma" - it is remarkable to see how my feelings towards the person change, and also to observe how that person subsequently acts towards me!!!!

love and light,

james said...


That is a great idea about the candle. I do something similar. I thank them for giving me an opportunity to practice compassion and unconditional love.

I also like Thich Nhat Hanh's commentary saying, "hello habit energy. Thank-you for looking out for me but I am fine without you."

I also try to think of "mean" people as children as they were once innocent babies. It helps me be more compassionate.

Thanks for sharing the candle thing with me. I think i'll adopt it if you don't mind. :)

I bow to the Buddha within you.

dragonflyfilly said...

i don't mind at all,(especially since it does not belong to me, lol)... it was from, i think, the new edition of The Book of the Dead but i can't check because it can't find it. (how could such a big book get lost? - buried under my copious mess of papers!)- anyway, it talks about Karma being like a balance sheet, we have debits (red) and credits (black)and if we can remain equonimous when confronted by insult and pain, we will accumulate (black)karma and our "adversary" will take on our (red) karma. When i dig up the book i will try to find the passage and page to send to you...

p.s. i am humbled by your closing salutation..thank you..and i bow to the Buddha in you,

"James" said...

Dear PJ my fellow seeker:

That sounds like a good book indeed. And you are welcome for the salutation. We are all Buddha's under neath all our layers of attachment. :)


dragonflyfilly said...

and i have many many many layers...

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