My Special Cloud

My wife Judy and I are back from a 10-day vipassana meditation retreat with Shinzen Young.  One of the many good things that happened was that she had this poem come to her….beautiful, but all too true for too many of us…..

I am sitting here and contemplating

My special cloud

The one that’s always hanging there

Between me and the sun.

You say the sky is clear,

The sun is warm.

But I’m not through admiring

My fascinating cloud.

It is unique; it’s mine alone.

Full of sorrows and fears,

Angers and desires – each deserving

An eon of introspection.

Someday I’ll see the sky, bask in the sun –

When I am ready; when things go right.

But for now, I think I’ll just keep watching

My special cloud.


  1. So true. Sometimes my cloud gets thinner, to the point that I forget it is there. Harmonic stillness is left. Out teacher says this is the very first step. I look forward to climbing this stairs further 🙂

  2. Tor, you cloud sounds pretty nice. I think my cloud is more of a storm cloud complete with lightning. Really interesting, sometimes quite beautiful, but something to be wary of.

    1. Well, my clouds are nice some times. But they are like what you describe too at other times. Unfortunately, conditions are more stormy than they are still. My mind is like one of those pictures that, depending on your mode of perception, can seem completely different even though the picture remains the same (I don’t remember what they are called). On good days, my experiences can get really interesting. Then I feel like I am finally moving ahead on my path. I can sense something just ahead of me, inside of me.. It is hard to describe, but when I can keep this state, a kind of harmonious expansion emerge, for lack of a better description. This is what I want. This is the road I want to follow.

      The other perspective my mind shows me (and I am putting my self outside my mind now, because that is my experience of how these things work) is thunderous indeed. It is the part of me that was created during my science education. It reduces and denies, creating utter havoc when I practice, and giving me a feeling of isolation and meaninglessness. It can reject any evidence of psi based on a single negative study, even though there are a 100 positive ones (it is completely irrational, as long as it can keep to the mainstream view), and it tries to explain away my own experiences as flukes or coincidences. It makes me small. It feeds on insecurity and attention. It is not a pleasant thing to have inside.

      What amazes me is that my mind can change from one of these harmony expansive states (or a more normalized state) to the other in less than a second. It never happens during normal activity (not consciously and with this crazy intensity anyway), only during my training. I try to ignore it, because experience have told me that engaging this inner demon just feeds it. But damn.. sometimes it is like being beaten to a bloody ball and trying not to care. If it gets painful enough I eventually brake and engage, which means I begin to argue internally, emotions flying all over the place. It leads nowhere. The demon is emotional in nature. It doesn’t care about your arguments. It only cares about getting attention so it can grow.

      Had I known beforehand that my mind could become split like this by being in academia, maybe I wouldn’t have studied science. But I suspect that the mental insights I have gained, and will gain, will far outweigh the negative aspect when I get through this. Experiencing a side of the mind that is heavily conditioned by mainstream thinking is real pain sometimes. It goes against my inner feeling of things, and a lot of accumulated suggestive experiences, not to mention a lot of research. It won’t let me just experience directly. It first needs to gain verification through scientific data that the experience is a valid one to have. That basically means it denies everything that is labeled spiritual or anomalous.

      Cleaning one’s inner backyard is a pain sometimes. But all those who have gone through this process before probably did it for a reason. There is probably much to be gained. A truly free will (as in not governed by unconscious harmful emotions), deep inner peace, and probably a deeper understanding of oneself and the universe. No mind-demon is going to stop me from trying to get there. Never surrender.. Never retreat.

    1. >Well, my clouds are nice some times.
      That’s the way I feel a lot. My thought clouds are generally pleasant and productive, so I can’t get all caught up in the Buddhist or Hindu idea that life is primarily suffering. Smart? Burning up good karma without advancing? Who knows….

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