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Vipassana Experience Day 7: How many colours are there in the clouds?

“Cuántos colores está en las nubes?” (How many colours are there in the clouds?)

The artist with crinkly eyes replied, “Hay 7 colores. Amarillo, azul, verde, rojo, violeta, naranja, índigo … no blanco. Blanco no es un color.” (There are 7 colours. Yellow, blue, green, red, violet, orange, indigo … no white. White is not a colour.) I was mesmerised and delighted. The artist whose paintings has stopped me in my tracks just reminded me of a scene in a much-loved book “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. He was sitting at a nearby bench, lost in a thick book. His paintings of the sky and clouds were so beautiful that I couldn’t resist asking him, “Cuántos colores está en las nubes?”

Day 7. It was a glorious morning after a stormy night. The sun was in its element and pretty clouds were taking form, instigating me to play my imagination; ‘go on, guess what shape I am?’ As I took my usual walk, I played a game with nature: ‘a handshake! Hello, elephant! Wait… are you a dog?’ When I was a teenager, my friends and I used to lie on the field and watch clouds float by during our PE (physical education) classes. Memories came and went, they were mostly good. Bouts of loneliness came and went.

Reflecting on the repeated advice of our teacher, the mind droned on: This will not last. Enjoy the moment while you can. Like the memories that came and went, like the fickle changing weather, like you in this part of the world and that. Do not cling, do not crave, do not dislike, do not be sad when you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable because the moment shall pass. Remember the five friends: Faith, Effort, Awareness, Concentration, Wisdom.  

I tried to be more mindful of where I stepped, and looked down more often. It would not do good to accidentally step on a snail or kill a trail of ants. “Kaz, don’t be a clumsy giant”. A few years back, I have stayed with a psychotherapist during an wwoofing assignment, and her words came floating back: “Of course that makes sense, you are a dreamer.” We have been discussing her garden tiles that I totally overlooked because I was too busy looking up at the sky. The trees with their blooming flowers set against the background of blue skies in Nelson had been irresistible.

That morning, I did something that I have been wanting to do. With a flask of coffee, I sat down by the curb next to my usual walking path and breathed in nature. Curious meditators that have been sharing the walking path walked on, trying to ignore my stationary presence. I looked up at the sky, beyond the towering trees. The clouds were coaxing me for answers. I was brought back to Cali, the city of Salsa in the country I so missed. A tiny smile slowly took form. “Cuántos colores está en las nubes?”  

[To be continued]

If you have enjoyed the above article, please stay tuned for more as I will be sharing a series of my daily thoughts on the 10-day Vipassana meditation at Dhamma Malaya Center along with some useful tips to know before going. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment. Peace, harmony and happiness to all! 

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