Some storms in the world freshen the earth, but others wreck devastation. There are storms in your life, and these too either bring you a new birth or destroy the sand castles you’ve built before the tide. Of such storms, there’s many quotes we could use to trace the outlines of virtue with.
But these are not your storms. No, your storms are your angers and greeds. They are your obsessions, the little circles you trace with a bloodied finger of mind. In the landscape of mind, we build sand castles too. And, just as your sand castles in the material world stand before a rising tide, the expectations of your mind are destroyed by the tumbling of mortal forms.
You stand apart from all these storms. Clouds in the sky, your life, your mind… they darken out the light, it seems, and lightning arcs down terrifyingly. The rumbling thunders are the infant cries of new forms of love coming into being. But it does not seem so as we cling to our rafts.
You are not your storms. When it rains outside, we retreat instinctively to the warmth of shelter. But we often forget to retreat when life thunders, and we almost never seek shelter when the storm is within. But why not? Is not the refuge of the Three Jewels of Buddhism comforting to you? Or the Trinity of Christianity? Our faith is not enough, if we despair in the valleys of life or darknesses of our minds.
If you do not turn to shelter, then you will become a force of whatever storm frightens you. Not in truth, of course, but your presence will become an onslaught to those around you. And there is no new birth in that. The devastation comes when you allow yourself to be used as an implement of the tumultuous skies. If you are reacting to another person who is similarly expressing a storm, the two of you are conjuring a shared landscape of loss and grief.
So turn to shelter. If the refuges of religion are strange to you, or even if they as familiar as a comforting touch, start simply by turning inward. Rest for a while. Meditate. Pray. Sit with the storm of your mind. Open your heart to the storm of your life. Sit outside in the rain, and when you feel your heart ready to burst – persist. Sit still, and the rains will lighten, and the clouds will begin to disperse. And, although the darkness may still loom as inevitable as a titan’s shadow when you rise, you will be free of it.
You are not your storms. They are visitors who have come to cleanse your heart and remind you that you are the sky, and they vanish when their gifts are accepted.