I am perched on a basalt boulder as I peer through strands of lovely fireweed and columbine toward a small a waterfall on Paulina creek. The roiling white caps flow over strands of deep green algae that seem to wave goodbye to the water as it passes. My thoughts are ensnared by the river—they are carried on the crest of rapids and then submerged into the current as it continues downstream. Each time a thought arises, it flows like a river until pouring into a vast lake or ocean, merging into emptiness; no longer graspable. Of course, there are always more thoughts.

They say we have around 50,000 thoughts in a day and 95 percent are recycled memories and observations. Very little freshness there. On the other hand, if we rest in our natural unconditioned awareness, the ratio reverses. We experience more fresh, unfiltered impressions and they flow unencumbered by previously stored ideas. We don’t make so many choices based on a limiting view of past experiences. Imagine if we had 95 percent new awareness. Perhaps separating judgments would have no foundation.

Actually, our judgments never have a solid foundation. Pure awareness flows upon a stream of compassion and pours without judgment wherever it is needed. We only require five percent worth of stored thoughts, memories, or skills to channel our love. Much less wasted effort!

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