Clouds and Perception

clouds above and clouds below
lost for letting go
stretching thin lace glowing rainbow
lost to sight
lost to the flow
time builds a rolling dark gray bulwark
hurling tank-like globules downward
semi-transparent hanging curtains
impressions amount
we are blinded by our viewfinders
playing yesterday like plaque
that covers cavities in spirit and imagination
blocking out the now
ever-changing and impermanent
always struck by the
printing press of perception
into gaudy gauche coins an
ideological appropriation

The way we think about clouds is an interesting reflection on perception and expectation. Both clouds and thoughts are ever changing and indiscrete. Yet we tend to view them, form perceptions of them, and then latch onto those perceptions.

Have you ever seen an object in a cloud and then looked back at it a minute later, searching to see the same thing, trying to see it still, even as the cloud changes and loses its similarity to the object you were imagining it looked like?

I am influenced in my thinking about clouds by my understanding of how we think about certain environmental “objects” based on constructions. Mountains would be one example.

What is a mountain? The answer is both clear and murky. Certainly, we can agree that huge things rise from level ground. We see that.

But where does one begin and end? What we call a mountain is often a matter of splitting hairs.

The same can be said about clouds. Clouds, however, change much more quickly than mountains. They are an interesting middle ground of time.

Clouds change slowly enough that we can look at clouds and think of them as discrete objects. But they change quickly enough that we can accept their impermanence.

I submit that thoughts are a lot like clouds. Thoughts are equally indiscrete as are clouds.

Often, one thought blends into another thought without us realizing it. Have you ever started off thinking one thing and then after some time you realized you ended up thinking about a completely different subject?

Just as we might see an elephant in a cloud and then find ourselves trying to see the elephant as the cloud morphs and the shape becomes increasingly improbable, so we can become attached to a thought—or what we think the thought is.

When we practice meditation and the observation of our thoughts, we can begin to recognize how they change and blend into one another. And we can observe how our impressions of the thoughts affect our relationship to our thoughts.

I can’t add much more to this mentation. It is something you may consider, perhaps. Clouds are part of the sky, just as thoughts are part of our being. Neither is the whole thing. They come and go.

Published by Miles of Mindfulness

My name is Mike Bragg. I'm a Denver-based cycling enthusiast and a big advocate of mindfulness. I enjoy the outdoors, and I use mindfulness practices to help myself be more present with my adventures. I like to read challenging material, and I have a keen interest in ancient history and natural sciences.

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