Inner Climate Control

"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."
Mark Twain
Most of us let our moods be affected by the weather. When it is sunny out, we feel brighter. When it is cloudy and rainy, we may feel blue. There are physiological reasons for this. Our nervous system responds to light. Some people with Seasonal Affective Disorder  are particularly sensitive to light or a lack of it, and they may become depressed in the winter, especially in northern climates where the days are short and dim. Increasing their exposure, even to artificial light, can help lift the depression.

Some weather-related mood changes are because of our thoughts about the weather. If it is cold and rainy, we can anticipate unpleasant sensations that go with being cold and wet. We may feel some disappointment, because we like being outside in the sun, and we can't do the same pleasant activities in the gloomy damp. In addition, the world outside just doesn’t look as pretty under dark wet skies.

It seems a shame though, to let something as uncontrollable as the weather determine the way we feel about our day. Why not brighten our gloomy days by carrying the sun in our hearts and holding warm thoughts in our minds?

Sometimes, even when the sun is shining and winds are calm outside, the storm may be inside us. Under stress, thoughts become turbulent and feelings blow through us like harsh winds. Try the following meditation to do something about your inner climate.


Sit in a comfortable, upright, meditation position. Close your eyes and take several slow deep breaths. Let the breath blow through your lips making a long slow hooooooh sound like wind on a stormy night. Inhale through your nose without forcing the air in. Just let it come in as far as it wants to. Allow a pause between inhaling and exhaling, but don’t force it. After several of these long, slow breaths, let your breath settle into a quiet, peaceful rhythm unforced and natural.

Check the weather of your mind.
How hard are your thoughts blowing?
How much pressure do you feel?
How light does it seem in your heart?
Are your emotions running warm or cold?

If you are not satisfied with your inner weather report, use your imagination and will to change it.
Calm the storm. Say to the winds, "Peace. Be still." Invite them to settle into the quiet pattern of your breath.

Imagine your thoughts are like birds in a tree. They fly in and out. You can watch them, maybe with some amusement, but there is nothing you need to do with them. They may return on their own, and they may leave on their own. You just watch them and leave them alone.

Visualize a warm sunny day inside you. Where you sense darkness, open to gentle light. Where you feel cold, imagine the warmth of the sun. Fill your inner world with comforting warmth.

Imagine gentle breezes rustling the trees. Perhaps you can hear water gently flowing and the welcoming cry of birds in the air and in the trees around you. Conjure up the sweet smells of spring or summer. Rest awhile in this calm condition. Enjoy the peace.

When you get up to resume your activity, carry the warmth and light with you. Let it shine on the people you encounter. Share your light. Share your warmth.

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© 2002 Tom Barrett