After the Kalpataru Day celebration on January 1st every year, the Vedanta Society has a Winter Recess until the first Sunday in February. That’s the time I usually travel. Take-offs and landings during flights are fascinating experiences. The transition from life on the ground to life above the clouds can provide an opportunity for reflection. The following is a brief reflection I made in my diary years ago.
In June 2006 my flight from Houston was delayed because of rain and stormy conditions in Boston. We finally took off three hours behind schedule. The plane was flying above the clouds: it was a beautiful sight. The world above was full of light, quiet, tranquility. The sky was crystal clear. I could see the moon and a lone star. As Boston neared and the plane began to descend, the passage through the clouds was understandably bumpy. Once we landed, we encountered a world which was dark, rainy, windy, and crowded. The tranquillity that was so palpable when we were above the clouds was lost in a moment. Once we got involved in the world with our feet firmly planted on the earth, the life above the clouds was forgotten.
But the world above the clouds always exists. It is just that it rarely pops up in our consciousness, except when we are flying above a sea of clouds.
Isn’t meditation like taking off in a plane to go above the kośa-clouds into the world of the Ātman? The journey through the clouds is bumpy, but once we are up there, we get to experience real peace, joy and tranquility. We don’t get to stay there for long, as we feel we have “work to do” down here in the world under the clouds, so we come down and get immersed in the kośa-s again.
A time will come when we will realize that we don’t need to come down at all. Our true home is above the clouds.