We have all heard that one comment from the opponent in a fight - "It is always about YOU! YOUR feelings! What YOU want!". But fights usually happen, to begin with, because both sides are equally focused on themselves. This was about conflict. Let's try feeling blue. I am not saying feeling depressed, because that could be clinical and completely out of the sufferer's control. I am talking about the pensive brooding about ourselves that we so often escape into. Who we think we are and how that does not match with what others think of us. Or the defiant, stubborn voice inside us, which suppresses all compassionate openness that our minds are willing to have, but unwilling to apply, at the same time.
Now, let's try feeling happy. Sometimes, we get so carried away with our own personal milestones that we completely forget that we are surrounded by others. Then happiness starts feeling a bit weird, because we want to extend it long after the applause dies down. People have an amazing ability to move on with their lives when your happiness is in no way, connected to them. That is why every now and then we have to take the painful decision, of taking a break from making the perpetual FB scrapbook about our happiness, and actually put our hands together for someone else! It sucks. But if you don't clap for me, I won't clap for you either. :)
When you think of how self-destructive your thoughts about yourself could be, be it in conflict, sadness or even happiness, you realize why so many people run towards meditation. And then if you retrace your life, you realize why you were so much happier when you were a kid. As kids, we all had the ability to "get lost" in things that were outside the sphere of our identity. Such as? Such as watching clouds float by! Wasn't that something all of us did? I still do it. That is why I love this talk and go back to it again and again. What is it about watching clouds or watching the night sky that is so soothing?
I used to go to work at 6:30 in the morning and see the sun rise from behind fluffy clouds. More than the sunrise, I loved the sunsets in the Midwest. The confused, pink sky, full of scrambled clouds somehow puts our entire existence in perspective. Then all our sorrows and joys that are purely attached to our identity seem trivial. But things like your best friend sitting next to you watching the sunset don't! In fact, sunsets have an incredible ability of making you grateful for your friendships. :)
I think watching clouds also has the power to make you feel grateful for what you have. Even if it is just being alive, in that very moment. Or being grateful just for the instinct that made you look up 180 degrees from your phone, into the sky. I think cloud watching, is really the first step towards meditation.