on the cliffs above the ocean

Here, there are flagpoles on the cliffs above the ocean. We keep experimenting with putting flags out there, because that’s the point of flagpoles. Sometimes the weather is very calm, and we experience these lovely flags in the stillness of slight wind. Other times there are incredibly high winds and waves, and the flags get shredded in a very short time.


The image of the flagpole and the flag is a great one, because the flagpole is steady and holds, and then the winds are whipping the flags all over the place, tearing them to shreds—that’s usually our predicament. We are the flags, and the wind is just whipping us around. We’re just whipped here and there and all over the place. And our emotions are escalating, our thoughts are all over the place.

Here, we never have to get new flagpoles. Even with hurricane-velocity winds, the flagpoles stay up on the cliffs.

– Pema Chodron, writing about Gampo retreat