Rain as a Spiritual Path
Experiencing the Rain as a Spiritual Path
The rain is pouring, and I have all the windows open in my 2nd floor studio above a garage, so that I feel it from 3 sides. Not as “sense-surround” as camping, but pretty darned cool. It’s night and the sound fills the space – and also creates a privacy. There is just this space. In the rain.
Huge, beautiful, old trees are outside my windows to the south, so I hear the rain hitting the leaves, and the leaves flapping in the wind, receiving and sometimes flinging big wet drops.
And to the West I have a view across slanted rooftops which supply the perfect percussive effect in the downpour.
The sounds created by every surge of rain are exciting and comforting at the same time.
It’s the kind of thing that makes you want to snuggle in and enjoy. So, I am doing that.
When it starts to get quieter, I find myself getting even more still, almost suspending breath as a preparation for a dive to the breathless Source.
But it doesn’t ever totally end, the rain is just taking a break (or giving us one) for a moment – slowing down into an almost slow motion where the space between drops reminds you of the space that is always available between the solid experiences of our lives – but then this moving moisture draws you back into what it is in this moment.
Presence is calling, creating an “almost pause” – giving you a moment to tune in, breathe, and appreciate.
And since today is Sunday, there is none of the usual buzz (of traffic or people) at this time – so the combination of rain and no one around creates extra silence between the drops. It’s almost unnatural or certainly unusual – which makes it so totally cool.
The impulse to suspend breathing seems natural. You want all of your body awareness to soak this up – that silence between the soothing and sometimes dramatic rain.
Yes, we had some lighting and loud cracks of thunder (that would normally have sent my adorable, 14-year-old ball-of-fluff into a panic, but since he lost his hearing, he’s so oblivious to the sounds that used to terrorize him and now, instead, he is relaxed and happy – a lovely companion in my cuddle-fest. (And it makes me reflect on and look forward to aging which seems to take away many of the senses that cause stress – somehow it seems right. Nature’s grace & kindness.)
Ah, I must pause to soak in another swelling wave of harder rain. I pick up my 8 lb. friend and, wrapped in an ultra-soft fluffy blanket, I open the door and we stand on my porch, a wall of rain slamming down 3 ft in front of us and beside us. I can feel the wind created as the drops displace cool air.
We breath in the cold, clean air – as rain does purify the air and, well, we are in Southern California, so we’ve needed rain - thus there is also the blessing to Mother Earth.
I have spent years in Native American sweatlodges where we prayed for rain, so this would be considered an answer to those prayers and, in keeping with the Red Road tradition, I should undoubtedly throw some tobacco on the ground in gratitude. (A Native American gesture of gratitude that I happen to adore but find unpractical to do in the house.) But what I liked about that gesture was that the body was involved in expressing appreciation or relationship. So I considered us bundling up to sit out in and be part of this rain also as a physical expression of my appreciation or relationship - to the rain.
This rain. This alive experience in this moment. There is so much sound, you can feel the intense energy from the rain hitting - and later the wind blowing with thunder & lightning -and the air is fresh, moist and both exciting and satisfying.
As I describe this, I'm hoping many reading this nod in recognition of this special experience in a thunderstorm that many of us have experienced at some point. And to do it surrounded by a torrential downpour but in a place of safe, dry, comfort, like a gourmet campsite ... that's where I live.
This storm demands your attention - and your Presence.
Such a rich, full, natural experience - that so many of us have shared but here in drought-filled Southern California, those thunderstorms have become things of myth and fantasy.
It's like I dreamed this up.
and intense rain
Yes, it demands all of my attention - and, yes, my mindfulness training helps me soak into it in an extraordinary way - but on a childlike emotional level - the kid in me is squealing with delight. This is just so cool!
Most of the thunderstorms I've experienced in my life were from my childhood in the midwest, when we lived in the woods. It was a favorite time for me then, and fulfills me now.
Tonight, I’ve been absorbed in the rain since before the sun set, and yes, the sunset added a lovely visual element – rainy but clear & colorful sunset. I was under dark clouds pouring rain - but over by the ocean the sky was open, and the bright reds & oranges cut through the grey, cold wetness – casting this warm glow on it all – the best of both worlds creating a new blend. ‘Twas unique and exquisite.
I have no music – just the sound of the rain, coming down in waves from wild-torrential to flirting with cessation amidst a continuously swelling and subsiding flow. Kind of how I’ve described spiritual experience before. So, I’m going with this free ride.
And having the softest, cutest puppy in the world who wants to cuddle on a big pile of pillows, makes all my internet work for the evening feel like a gift to get to do from my iPad wrapped in this auditory blanket of strong, pure vibration – and, of course, I pause many times to drop into a mindful union with this "Sound-Feel" Fest and at moments I disappear and there is just rain.
More thoughts & insights arise as I experience & contemplate this rain, but I stop writing now - to return to there being nothing but this rich rain. A satisfying complete experience for which I am filled with gratitude.