Emotions Come And Go Like The Weather

A crucial step in mindfulness training is understanding the fleeting nature of the present. Once we make peace with the idea that the present is all there is, we have to go a step further and not trust our own interpretation of what the present is.

If we invest ourselves fully in the present, and find ourselves all worked up about something, it’s possible to solipsistically lose sight of the reality of a situation. This is why people overreact. It can even cause people to do pretty bad things — the types of things people do when they feel there are no alternatives and can’t see beyond the emotion of the moment.

The important lesson to learn is that emotions come and go like clouds or sun; they loom elsewhere, out of sight, and approach at their appointed time. Nature is a good metaphorical model, because we accept nature. We know that there’s nothing we can do to end a rainy day, or make the sun set later, or clear clouds over a beach. We simply wait things out; we let natural processes take their course. If we learn to approach our emotional states in such a way, we can evolve to a point where we recognize that all ‘states’ are fleeting.

Once we recognize the fundamental nature of everything as coming-and-going, as impermanent, our reactions to our own emotions become less severe. And, once we can make peace with ourselves and all of our fleeting feelings, it becomes easier to make peace with everyone else.