Turbulent and Calm

The clouds roiled and boiled, swirling into beautiful patterns of infinite shapes. Our plane descended into this momentary expression of water vapor and the wings began to vibrate, gusty wind tossing us about like a falling leaf. Turbulence was pretty intense for awhile and then, suddenly, the plane glided smoothly just before we touched down. It is amazing that something ungraspable as a cloud seems to exhibit such a dichotomy between turbulence and calm.

When I look into my own mind and see the arising of thought patterns, I notice the same dichotomy. Sometimes my thoughts appear calm and pleasing. Other times they seem turbulent and unpleasant. But just as a turbulent cloud/wind pattern is of the same nature, the same air and water vapor as a calm display, every thought is of the same nature as every other thought. It is just a momentary expression of energy. How I interpret that energy is flavored by whatever filter I am peering through.

From the standpoint of our original unconditioned nature we have no filters through which to peer. We recognize all phenomena and all thoughts as momentary expressions of energy (very quantum physics). All energy is of the same nature, the same subatomic moment. So, when strong emotions arise, they possess built-in calmness. When we are happy and things seem to flow, that experience rides on a wave of turbulence—just like the quiet crest of an ocean wave rises from a roiling sea. And deep beneath the surface, the sea is calm and unmoved.

When we understand the unity of all experience, we rest in our naturally liberated mind. True and abiding happiness comes from recognizing this union. In Buddhist lingo, this is expressed as the effortless union of wisdom and compassion, the unity of spaciousness and activity, emptiness and form. With a bit of realization, we catch a glimpse of Rigpa, the pure and total presence or unity of the wisdom mind. Now is a good opportunity.

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