There’s one key thing that mindfulness teaches you — to sit with your thoughts & feelings, to observe them, accept them and then let them go, without getting caught up in them, without letting them overwhelm you. All thoughts & feelings, but especially the negative and the uncomfortable ones.
There’s also this image of your mind as the infinite blue sky and thoughts & feelings as clouds slowly drifting on it, as clouds do in the sky.
Of course, some clouds are massive and menacing — the black stormy variety as Headspace would say. And sometimes they are so many that they cover up the whole sky and make you forget there was ever a sun beyond them. And life feels like an never-ending cold grey day inside a thunderstorm.
At the beginning of my mindfulness practice, when this image was introduced to me, I had this idea that “yeah, I’ll sit with those ugly clouds, in the middle of the thunders; and by doing so, I’ll tame the storm”.
But of course, you can’t control a storm just as you can’t tame wild animals. That’s the whole point — to understand that you can’t control the storm but you can control how you react to it and what you do when you’re in it.
Just like in this exercise, we can’t always control what life throws at us or the thoughts and feelings that arise in our mind. But we can choose how we want to react to them, what we want to do with them.
And so I’ve come to consider myself not a storm tamer but a storm rider. Riding whatever is in (front of) me, in the sky, every single day.
There’s probably a lot more to say on this idea of riding, about the effortless, non-judgemental, balancing act that it entails, but for now I’ll leave you with this new meaning of a ‘rider on the storm’.