Looking up from my book I saw this butterfly and captured a photo of it with my iPhone. The sky looks pretty grey but it was actually just some clouds passing by as I was relaxing with a book out in the garden. Within a few moments there was blue sky again. I’m struck by how the sky changes so quickly. Clouds are a great reminder of the transience of Life with their constant making and unmaking of themselves, their constant appearing from apparently nowhere and disappearing apparently into nothing. The fact the sky looks so grey in this shot also reminded me of how often we take a moment in time and react to it, then the reaction can live for a long time afterwards. There’s no doubt that the ability to expand our focus of attention, stretching it in time and/or in space, can radically change our inner experience and hence our mood. I suspect that the relationship between moods and emotions is a bit like the ripples which spread out over the surface of a pond after a stone lands in the water. The moment the stone lands creates a condition – just like a word, a gesture or an action might trigger an emotional state in us – but that the state spreads out to become our longer lasting state of mind (a mood) – in much the same way that the ripples can be seen long after the stone has disappeared, or the wake can wash onto the shore long after the boat which caused it has sailed by.
Butterflies can be a trigger for us to think of transience (but also of metamorphosis – I think I’ll return to that in another post) so, the butterfly against the changing sky worked as a strong prompt for me.
Sometimes we just need to place events into their larger contexts in order to alter the impact they can have on us. It’s great to be focused on the present moment, but it’s also important to be able to set the present moment into our larger story.