A passive method to remind ourselves of our eternal nature: the unchanging aspect, the witness
Observing clouds to understand that all is changing; only the state beyond mind has any ultimate value.
A way to remind ourselves that all is change – except for that still and unmoving aspect that observes all the changes: the ‘witness,’ the internal watcher.
“Look at the trees, at the rivers, at the mountains: they give the feeling that everything is permanent, but look a little deeper and the feeling disappears.
“Then go within and look at your thoughts. They are even more temporary. They continuously go on moving, not a single thought stays. A moment ago you were angry and the mind was filled with angry thoughts; a moment later you are smiling and those thoughts have disappeared completely, as if they never existed. Just like clouds in the sky they come and go; they are constantly changing their shape, just like the clouds – they are exactly alike.
“Meditate on the clouds and you will see their form is constantly changing.
“If you don’t look you may not become aware, otherwise you will see their form is continuously changing; not for a single moment is the form of a cloud the same.
“The same happens in your mind: the form of a thought is just like a cloud; it goes on changing. That is the reason why people cannot concentrate, because concentration means the form of the thought should remain constantly the same. That is the problem, because thought goes on moving and changing. Whatsoever you do it is changing: one thought changes into another, one form into another form. The world of thought is also not that which endures.
“Hills change, clouds change, only the sky remains the same – it endures. The same is within you: things change around you and clouds, thoughts change within you – but the sky of the self, the witnessing self, remains the same. That is the pearl: the witnessing self. It is formless so it cannot change. If there is form, change is going to happen. If there is no form, how can change happen? It is formless, nirakar.
“If you go to this formlessness within you, in the beginning it will look empty because you don’t know formlessness, you only know emptiness. But don’t be afraid, don’t get scared, enter into it. When you become acquainted with it, when you have settled in it, then the emptiness is not emptiness: it becomes formlessness. When this formlessness is achieved, you have the pearl. Then you have purchased one at the cost of the many. Right now, at the cost of the one you have purchased the many. And the one is the pearl; the many are just false stones. They may look very valuable but they are not, because they cannot endure. Endurance, nityata, eternity, is the criterion of truth – remember this well.”
“What is truth? That which endures, and endures infinitely.
“What is a dream? That which begins and comes to an end; that which cannot endure forever.
“So look to that pearl which nobody can snatch from you, not even death. In death the body will die, in death the thoughts will disappear; but you? – you will go on and on and on. Death happens near you, but never to you. It happens in the neighborhood, but never at the center; it happens at the circumference. You have never died, you cannot die. Mountains disappear, clouds come and go, but the sky remains the same. And you are the sky.
“The nature of the self is just like space: empty, infinitely empty, formless. Everything happens within it, nothing happens to it.”
(Osho: The Mustard Seed)