The Clouds Are Lifting

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Cheers
Ben
Montauk Storm by Benjamin Antony Monn

It has been raining here for about three days straight which is unusual weather for us. It would have been lovely if it had snowed; it would have covered the ugly and brought out the beauty in this city. Everything looks better, more fantastical with snow on it. The city resembles a pet stranded in the rain when it is simply cold and wet outside. It has made for most uninspiring thoughts and ruminations. Today, the clouds seem to be lifting, or at least, parting, and the sun is struggling to break through.

I watched the sun rise against the clouds; to the west where the clouds are living for the moment, a beautiful pink appeared. Then an orange, and then the color was gone; leaving behind ordinary clouds.

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Sunset at a Broken Pier

I think life is the same way; it is like a stormy sky. Sometimes we rage against what we believe is wrong or painful, then we calm down and cry about what is hurting us. It is a catharsis that allows the cloudy days to have meaning, and sometimes provides the clarity we crave. It allows the clouds in our minds to lift, to let the sun shine in, and for the beautiful pinks and oranges to return momentarily until the color disappears leaving us with a feeling of calm and acceptance of the feelings that we raged so terribly against.

However, it does not mean we have to like what we have learned to accept simply because there is no other choice. It means life moves through periods of intense beauty and periods of intense sadness; I have manic depression so I probably feel these “mind storms” more intensely than the “normal” person. After a period of thought, I realize that I do not have to like the fact that my friend is dying, however I accept it because there is no choice. You can’t rage against the inevitable; the inevitable is immutable, and all the railing and ranting in the world won’t change it.

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Two sides of being

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Fetid is a hateful heart,

Rank is the envious soul,

Putrid is the violent mind,

Despicable is the evil being.

Yet this is not how they have to be,

They change if they believe,

That goodness can be their future life,

And a righteous live they can lead.

Then beautiful will be the heart,

Full of light is within the soul,

Conscious is the compassionate mind,

Benevolent is the righteous being.

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Winds of Impermanence

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“How swiftly the days pass! It makes us realize how few are the years we have left. Friends enjoy the cherry blossoms together on spring mornings, and then they are gone, carried away like the blossoms by the winds of impermanence, leaving nothing but their names. Although the blossoms have scattered, the cherry trees will bloom again with the coming of spring but when will these people be reborn? The companions with whom we enjoyed composing poems praising the moon on autumn evenings have vanished with the moon behind the shifting clouds. Only their mute images remain in our hearts. Though the moon has set behind the western mountains, we will compose poetry under it again next autumn. But where are our companions who have passed away?”

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From: “Letter to Niike” ~ Nichiren Daishonin, 13th Century Buddhist Monk