My home, in this particular place and time on the garden planet sits atop a Southern California hill with a grand vista to the west. Over the last decade my camera has captured hundreds of cloud images from sunrise to sunset, during all seasons and in all kinds of weather. Recently while playing around with a few of these images I noticed that when flipping a duplicate and blending it with the original, “cloud illusions” began to arise and take on form and meaning!
In the garden, there is harmony, balance and order to the way of nature (the tao). Our human mind, perceiving this order, ascribes to it a higher imagined meaning, substance and purpose to existence. Using memories, hopes, fears, and desires as the medium, we create within our mind an elaborate thought construction of a separate, solid and unchanging self moving within a fantastically complex dream world we have conjured.
It seems apparent that it is our human nature to construct layers of meaning upon the phenomenal world. It has obviously provided our species with spectacular evolutionary advantages. But it is also apparent we have forgotten that when we create this composition, we are painting with illusions of meaning, a dreamworld upon an empty canvas.
To recognize that we project these illusions upon the empty world is to remember once more that we are, each of us, the unwitting architects of our own most beautiful fantasies as well as our own ugliest nightmares. This is the first movement in awakening to the simple truth that there never was a gate separating “my self” from “the world” and that when we open our eyes at last we see that we have been standing in the garden all along.
“When all phenomena are left as they are, their appearance is not modified, their color does not change, and their brilliance does not diminish. If you do not spoil phenomena with clinging and grasping thoughts, appearances and awareness will nakedly manifest as empty and luminous wisdom.” ~ Dudjom Rinpoche