One of the most profound teachings that changed my life was simply that my thoughts are not always telling me the truth, and that they are not me, not all of me anyway. I am manifesting thoughts, yes, but they are like turbulent clouds covering the magnificent clear blue sky of my truer essence. Zen master Suzuki Roshi calls this truer essence, this pure awareness, Big Mind. If there is any striving at all in meditation, it would be to access more and more of this natural state of pure awareness, noticing that it is there, luminous and whole, clear and vast. Thoughts come in, run their rampant stories across our mind, snagging us with multiple delusions and projections. They can seem very, very real, and in a way, they are when we take them seriously. Taking these stories seriously can often cause a lot of suffering. So try this. If you are suffering, observe your thoughts, the story you are telling yourself. Breath deeply, taking the perspective that maybe there is a way out of this feeling. As we are able to do this, the blue sky emerges, and we begin to feel bigger, less trapped by whatever is happening. The story and the emotions roll in like clouds across the sky, but behind those clouds is the expansive sun of Big Mind. Settle into it. Settle into silence. Settle into peace.