Mind as Vast and Clear as the Sky


We should remember that the true nature of the mind has no solidity; it is rootless, clear, radiant awareness.  Know this, don’t try to block the emotions and sensations that arise in your mind.  Don’t try to analyze them.  Whenever thoughts or memories come up, don’t hold onto them by ruminating on them.  Mind itself is luminous and clear, like immeasurable space, and any feeling, thought, or memory within it is like a cloud in a clear sky.

                                                                                            Tsultrim Allione


Whether or not you are familiar with the metaphor of sky for the vastness of mind it is well worth contemplating.  For me the image of the bodhisattva Guanyin set against cerulean blue evokes the sense of Tsultrim Allione’s inspiring words.

What else captures the immeasurable so profoundly?  The visual tag of space invites the heart and mind to stretch beyond routinely imposed limits on a jet stream of imagination.

The brilliant cosmologist Stephen Hawking inhabits a body he cannot move yet describes his mind as completely free.  He has surely touched a radiant luminosity in his explorations of inner space.

Only when we allow the play of emotion and sensation to naturally form and disperse like clouds in the sky can we touch into the liberation possible in each moment. Reflecting on a big vision is essential when our lives get too little, too stuck in a tight box of anxiety or depression.Welcoming Guanyin

The first time I laid in the grass meditating on the blue sky like a Tibetan yogi I knew these spiritual practitioners were on to something. Supported by the earth my body quieted yet my brain began to chatter. Noticing a layer of cirrus clouds encroaching on the unobstructed view I eventually made peace with the coming and going of the billowy haze.

It’s taken me years to begin to feel the same way about the worries and inflammations that drift across and color the palette of my mind.

In the Dhammapada, a collection of writing attributed to the words of the Buddha, he suggests that an enlightened individual to be “Like a migrating bird in the sky, leaves no trace of a track in the sky.”

Leave No Trace is a movement in wilderness education that suggests we walk lightly on the earth and leave it fresh for others to enjoy.  The Buddhist practice of mindfulness suggests we do the same with our thoughts and emotions, sweeping clean the internal tracks of our experience with each breath.

Letting go of attachment to my thoughts, my feelings, my seriousness and my view takes continuous effort.  Meditation is aimed at breaking up the dense fog of stuck beliefs, repetitive thoughts and painful emotions.

To imagine the mind as transparent as the big blue sky of Colorado or Tibet is a great practice. As the popular song suggests, “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.”  The unclouded heart is open to all possibilities and everyone we encounter.

This unimpeded view is without division.  Mind and heart is not “mine” or “yours.”  “We” dissolve into the vastness.  It’s a lot to grok yet well worth investigating.  A brief glimpse is a great start to a new day.

For more photos and inspirational words go to www.thefemalebuddha.com

This entry was posted in Buddha, Buddhism, Dhammapada, Guanyin, Kwan Yin, lberation, mindfulness, Photography, Quotes, Sacred Icons, Spiritual, Wilderness by Deborah Bowman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Deborah Bowman

Deborah Bowman, Ph.D., is a psychologist, photographer, author and Professor at Naropa University where she founded the Transpersonal Counseling Psychology Program and the Wilderness Therapy program. For 27 years she has worked as a Gestalt and Jungian psychotherapist Boulder, CO. Buddhist practice and passion for Guanyin guided her travels in Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Japan, China, Myanmar and Cambodia. She is the author of The Luminous Buddha: Image and Word, When Your Spouse Comes Out: A Straight Mate’s Recovery Guide and soon to be published The Female Buddha: Discovering the Heart of Liberation and Love.

4 thoughts on “Mind as Vast and Clear as the Sky

  1. Very beautiful transmission here, thank you. I know we made contact on Twitter awhile back re: your upcoming book, is there a publication date yet, as I would love to review/feature it at BellaOnline.com, or at my own blog, Mommy Mystic. Hope it is ‘birthing’ well! Namaste- Lisa


    • Dear Lisa, Thanks so much for your response to my writing and reconnecting. Yes, I would still love to have you review the book. I’ve had about a 6 month set back in the timing for publication and am now looking at a May/June release. The good news is it should look better than ever with a new layout design and a new printing company. I’ll keep you abreast of its progress and will get you a copy as soon as possible.
      With gratitude, Deborah


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