Talking About the Weather

The Earth's atmosphere is a marvel. This layer of gases that are drawn close to the planet by it's gravitational pull makes life possible. It sustains and protects, providing aspiration to biological life, and shielding the planet and all of us from extreme radiation, allowing through just enough light and heat to make the planet habitable. Within the atmosphere, there is a constant fluctuation of pressure and temperature and energy. These forces manifest as different kinds of weather patterns. In Colorado it's not uncommon to see a change in temperature of 50 degrees or more in a few hours time. The weather can go from a blinding blizzard to calm, clear and sunny in a matter of minutes, and then back again. Atmosphere and weather patterns come to mind as a metaphor to understand the relationship between mind, consciousness and thought, and how these principles work to create our personal experiences of life.

There isn't really a well defined boundary between the atmosphere and outer space. As you get further away from the Earth's gravitational pull, the gasses that make up the atmosphere become less and less dense, ultimately separating into individual molecules suspended in space.  Space and the atmosphere are like the principle of mind. We each have an inner world of an individual personal mind that is where much of the thinking that we pay attention to happens. These thoughts are like the gas molecules that make up the Earth's atmosphere. Outside of the personal mind is the much more vast space that some refer to as divine mind, or big mind. Like the relationship between the atmosphere and space, there is no well defined boundary between them. There is just one mind, and our personal minds are not separate from that.

The weather patterns in the atmosphere are like our patterns of thought. Thoughts of pressure, turmoil, and stress are like storms, concentrations of energy that move through the personal mind. Ultimately storms give way to more calm and clear times of peace and well being. Thought manifests as feeling. Our feelings aren't coming from outside our personal mind, they're all contained within it.

Consciousness in this metaphor can be seen as the place from which you experience the weather. Let's say that there's a horrible blizzard. There are a number of ways you can experience the storm, depending on where you experience it from. If you're walking on a desolate road as the snow and wind sting your face, the experience will be very intense and quite vulnerable. If you're driving down the same road, you'll have some protection from the harshness of the storm, but you'll still have some stress and tension as you grip the wheel and concentrate on seeing though your visibility is severely limited. If you're in your house watching the snow fall as you enjoy a cup of a warm beverage, you can begin to enjoy an experience of cozy peacefulness as you look through your window. If you're on a plane flying through or over the clouds, you might experience a few bumps of turbulence, but for the most part you're not even aware of how serious the storm is on the surface below the clouds. If you're in the International Space Station(the source of the picture above), you'll be in a place where you can see the storm system below you, but it won't have any impact on you at all. You'll be calm.The higher you go, the less tumultuous your experience.

In my experience there is nothing I can do to keep storms from happening. Thinking happens rapidly, and the feeling follows automatically. And I'm not even sure that I can choose a different level of consciousness. What I do see is that just being aware of what's going on is enough to open me to a higher level. Kind of like an observation deck where I can witness my thinking and feeling playing themselves out. Usually very rapidly I will find calmness and clarity, and then new thinking can emerge.