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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Watching the Clouds

SERENITY - the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; composure, peacefulness, peace. [Serenity week begins here.]

Today the meditation got off to a rocky start. You see, my Sweetie and I had a bottle of wine at dinner last night. We don't often have wine during the week and more importantly we rarely finish the bottle in one sitting these days. Yesterday we did. It was a yummy yummy old vine zinfandel and we couldn't help ourselves. Which was fun last night but not so great for meditation this morning.  I resorted to a cup of coffee, which tasted SOO wonderful but certainly created a different type of meditation! I did my best to be mindful of every warm sip so although it wasn't quite what I had in mind when I started this experiment I did enjoy the solitude it created.
From Google Images

Today's Serenity Initiative comes from the  Institute of Serenity with an idea to help empty our mind of the 60,000 plus thoughts that mostly unconsciously inhabit our days.  Go to the website to read the entire article on Watching the Clouds to review the science and benefits behind the following practice.

The ever changing cloud formations in the summer sky offer an ideal resting place for our attention. Watching the clouds is one of my favorite practices for emptying the mind. And it is easy:
Make sure you have at least ten minutes uninterrupted time. Silence the phone. If you wish, have soothing music running in the background of your room. Find an absolutely comfortable sitting position or lie down. Know that you can change your position any time you feel like it. Make sure you have an unobstructed view into the sky.
Take a couple of deep breaths that reach all the way down into our abdomen. Look into the sky and, at the beginning, allow your attention to wander around a bit. Where are the clouds billowing? Where in the sky are they flat? Are there different layers of clouds? What colors do you see?  Can you see faces or objects? Become aware of the vastness of the sky above you. Continue to breathe evenly and deeply. Relax.
Now see if you can rest your attention on a particular cloud. (I like the white fluffy ones that remind me of whipped cream!) Observe how it changes its form, its color, its texture, its position. Become aware that the sky as you see it at this very moment will never return. It changes from one moment to the next. How does this magnificent display of impermanence make you feel?
Continue to breathe evenly and deeply. Relax ever so deeply.
While you continue to watch your cloud changing, even disappearing, notice your connection to the cloud and the sky above you. Become aware that everything around you and in you is subject to change: The trees in your front yard, the grass in the park, the hair on your skull, and the cells in your body. See if you can immerse yourself in the cosmic dance of twirling atoms, connecting to ever changing forms. Feel your participation in this dance. Allow a deep joy to arise from within.
Spend a few more moments, simply resting, breathing, holding the connection to the clouds above you.
Whenever you are ready to return to your room, deliberately take another deep breath, feel the chair you are sitting on or the floor you are lying on. Then stretch yourself out, allow your jaws to relax with a big yawn, and get up.
If you try out this practice please let me know in the comments here and share with the folks over at the Institute of Serenity. Write to

Do head over to The Institute of Serenity's website for even more simple practices to try!

I just realized have a bit of a disadvantage with this practice! I live in Northern California and we have a virtually cloud free sky the entire summer! How funny, when I read this I totally thought of my upstate New York childhood where watching clouds was an easy undertaking most summer days! Well instead of clouds I will watch the branches of a little tree as I look at the sky... I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes!
Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.” John Addison
Here's wishing you a barrel of Mirth on your way to Serenity today!

Next Post: Tranquil Thoughts

My 13 bliss virtues are 
joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, 
romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, and surprise.

This week we are exploring  Serenity. 
Next week is all about Inquiry

1 comment:

  1. I love watching clouds!!! I love seeing them move in different ways and I really love finding wonderful treasures in them! Just last night The Hubbums and I looked up to see a lovely little cottage complete with a little side garage! It was perfect!


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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


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