Feeling What It's Like to Be Weather

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July 24, 2012

Excerpt from The Wisdom of No Escape (chapter titled "Weather and the Four Noble Truths") by Pema Chödrön:

The first noble truth says simply that it's part of being human to feel discomfort. We don't have to call it suffering anymore, we don't even have to call it discomfort. It's simply coming to know the fierness of fire, the wildness of wind, the turbulence of water, the upheaval of earth, the gentleness of the breezes, and the goodness, solidness, and dependability of the earth. Nothing in its essence is one way or the other...

Sometimes they manifest in one form and sometimes in another. If we feel that's a problem, we resist it. The first noble truth recognizes that we also change like the weather, we ebb, and flow like the tides, we wax and wane like the moon. We do that, and there's no reason to resist it. If we resist it, the reality and vitality of life become a misery, a hell.

The second noble truth says that this resistance is the fundamental operating mechanism of what we call ego, that resisting life causes suffering. Traditionally it's said that the cause of suffering is clinging to our narrow view. Another way to say the same thing is that resisting our complete unity with all of life, resisting the fact that we change and flow like the weather, that we have the same energy as all living things, resisting that is what's called ego. 

Yesterday I began to be very curious about the experience of resistance. I noticed that I was sitting there with uncomfortable feelings in my heart and my stomach—dread, you could call it. I began to recognize the opportunity of experiencing the realness...feeling what it's like to be weather. Of course that didn't make the discomfort go away, but it removed the resistance, and somehow the world was there again. When I didn't resist, I could see the world. 

Then I noticed that I had never liked the quality of this particular "weather" for some reason and so I resisted it. In doing that, I realized, I re-created myself. It's as if, when you resist, you dig in your heels. It's like as if you're a block of marble and you carve yourself out of it, you make yourself really solid.

In my case, worrying about things that are going to happen is very unpleasant; it's an addiction. It's also unpleasant to get drunk again if you're an alcoholic, or to have to keep shooting up if you're a drug addict, or to keep eating if you have overeating addiction, or whatever it is. All these things are very strange. We all know what addiction is; we are primarily addicted to ME.

Interestingly enough, when the weather changes and the energy simply flows through us, just as it flows through the grass and the trees and the ravens and the bears and the moose and the ocean and the rocks, we discover that we are not solid at all. If we sit still, like a mountain in a hurricane, if we don't protect ourselves from the trueness and the vividness and the immediacy and the lack of confirmation of simply being part of life, then we are not this separate being who has to have things turn out our way.