It finally happened!
Rain poured down on me while I was meditating this morning!
I meditate outside in my backyard in the uncovered portion of my backyard. Before I took my seat, I didn’t even look at the sky. In fact, even while it was raining, foreboding clouds were absent. It was one of those joyful showers that Florida has a lot, but this one wasn’t quite a sun shower, a quick dousing characterized by the notable lack of any clouds. This one came from clouds that were just plump and heavy enough, white puffy clouds with a tinge of grey at the edges, and let loose it’s wet deluge right into my backyard.
I was grateful I got showered on while I was meditating. I have been meditating in my backyard off and on for years now and this is the first time it has happened in the middle of a session, which is surprising since I have lived in Miami for so long, and have been meditating outdoors for over a year.
It began as a couple drops, as all Miami downpours do, and quickly escalated into sheets of thick rain. It was cold, and was a great break from the usual oppression of heat.
The great thing about getting caught in the rain, is that I am reminded what it means to experience the rain. Unless I am in the space of needing to preserve how I look (going to work for example) and will be stuck in uncomfortable wet clothes for a long time, rain makes me slow down and remember what it feels like to take my time.
With that being said, I didn’t rush my practice, nor draw it out. I sat on my meditation cushion with my eyes closed, having just completed my Ganesh chant around my handmade quartz crystal fairy mala, enjoying the sensation of raindrops banging on the crown of my head. The rain was hard, and it really felt great. It was like giant wet fingers tapping me on the top of my head, but I could distinctly tell that they were never lifted off my skull again like real fingers would. It was like the giant, head-tapping fingers hit my skull and then melted on to me.
While I was sitting in my backyard enjoying the music of the rain all around me and on me, I recalled Miami-native lore about the rain making you sick if you spend too much time in it. How can something so pure and cleansing make anyone sick? It made me laugh because there were so many times as a kid I would be caught playing in the rain, and even more track and cross country meets where we competed in the rain. When I lived in Scotland being caught in the rain was part of daily life! An umbrella was required as part of daily perambulation in Scotland as much as it is here in Miami, if not more so up in the United Kingdom. This meditation with it’s unexpected gift of cleansing rain reminded of a quote I saw recently: Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.
I was going to do my Lakshi meditation this morning, which is a meditation to conjure abundance in life, but I decided instead to switch to the Ganesh meditation chant. Lakshmi’s chant is “shrim” for every flick of a mala bead, whereas Ganesh’s is “gum”.
Rain is cleansing, so doing a meditation to Ganesh, the destroyer of obstacles, seemed appropriate. I imagined all things that were standing in my way, seen and unseen, aware and unaware, being washed aware with every intentional chant of “gum” and every raindrop that landed on my being. The swift shift from choosing one meditation to the other was really empowering.
The rain started while I was completing my last breathing exercise, kabalabakti breathing (I may have butchered the spelling on that word) which means breath of fire in Sanskrit. This is the breathing exercise I was just recently taught by a spiritual teacher how to perform it better, which has made it more challenging, but I definitely am experiencing the benefits of it. Breath of fire is a breathing exercise that is performed quickly: using your abdominals you forcefully contract your belly muscles to exhale sharp and fast. In this exercise, you do not worry about your inhale, your body completes it on it’s own. One of the best breathing exercises I know of for clearing yourself out of all thoughts, it heats up your body considerably, too. So, when the rain started during this portion of my meditation, it was great to have the cooling effect of the rain coupled with this heating breath work that usually makes me sweat in the Miami heat.
After breath of fire is my chanting portion of the meditation, which I already spoke about, but since today’s meditation was made so different because of the rain, I decided to try my Tibetan singing bowl while filled with water, which I have actually been wanting to do for some time!
I picked up my soaked, felt-covered mallet, and began to swipe it around my bowl in my usual clock-wise direction. I heard the metallic sing start, but it never really crescendoed like it usually does. It seemed like it was trying, and it made me laugh when it never did. The bowl was filling with water. The bowl is surprisingly wide and deep; a friend once told me it would make the world’s best guacamole bowl. I must say I agree with him! When I realized the bowl wasn’t going to sing any time soon, I decided to tap the mallet on the edges to make it sound like a bell. The clear note began at once, but then was quickly muted by the hammering of the raindrops. I tried twice more, and the same thing. I sat there for a moment longer, thanked the rain and the four directions of winds, a Native American custom I have added in to my personal meditations, and opened the energetic circle I had made for my meditation (a wicca practice I learned from my mom: open and close the meditation circle with an “athame”, most people use a pretty dagger for this, but I use either my selenite crystal wand or my glass fairy wand-daggers just aren’t my style) so that I could peacefully complete and leave my sacred space.
I gathered up all my things, some of which may not do well drying, for example, my meditation pillow and the pillow my bowl sits on, and I selenite crystals aren’t always too fond of water, but it seemed so right to be doused by the rain while I was clearing myself out!
I let my singing bowl fill with water until it was overflowing. I requested a flower from my neighbor’s royal Poinciana tree (I rarely pick flowers, but when I do I ask the tree spirits for permission first-it’s always polite to ask before taking!), and when I heard a positive response, I knew I heard right when I went to gather the flower I wanted and it came off the tree easily. I guess the tree must like the bowl meditations I have been doing in my backyard to give up a flower so easily! I wanted a flower so that the water could be more easily seen in my bowl when I took the photo of it. Now my entire Tibetan singing bowl is a watery wonderland vase for that single flower, and is sitting on my outdoor altar.
Getting rained on in my meditation was nature’s way of reminding me to take my time, and enjoy the moment. All day yesterday I rushed and rushed, because the day before yesterday I went to the dentist for a deep cleaning, and it took so long for the anesthesia to wear off that I got only a percentage of the work done that I wanted to complete that day. Therefore, all day yesterday I felt rushed, like I didn’t have enough time to do the things I needed to do, which was really silly because when I rush, I know it is like trying to push a river to move faster. It doesn’t happen.
It’s interesting because the planets never rush and they arrive where they need to be, on time every time. A rose never rushes to open its petals; you can’t pull on grass to make it grow faster. Avocadoes and mangoes (which are in season right now!) never rush when ripening, and they are always ready on time for the picking, and in such abundance that we must give them away.
When we take our time, we get more, not only in material things, but also in experiences. When was the last time you let the rain fall all over you? When was the last time you gave yourself permission to be a mess, let your makeup run, and turn your face to the heavens and allow peace and gratitude wash over you? Letting the rain wash over you is literally giving yourself permission to let all of your worries, fears, doubts, and frustrations be washed away. Getting caught in the rain and enjoying it is akin to a cleansing shower for your soul, and with the new moon coming up on Monday, July 4th, Independence Day, it is the perfect time to allow all the old, weighty things we are clinging to wash away to be ready to let in the new energy and commit to new ways of being and goals. The new moon is even in a water sign this Monday, in the sign of Cancer, so getting caught in the rain this morning seemed even more appropriate!
This morning’s experience made me soul-deep grateful for the place I have chosen to live, Miami, and for the magicalness that exists in our daily lives when we choose to let nature in at all levels of experience. It made me grateful for the practice of meditation, for the discipline it gives and the experience it offers when we simply choose to show up for ourselves. When we choose to show up for ourselves, in all situations whether it’s meditation or otherwise, the things that show up for us abound, give us new experiences we may have never had before, like getting rained on in the middle of a meditation.
What have you allowed to happen to yourself recently whose spontaneity has brought a sense of liveliness and vitality back into your life? If you can’t think of anything, give yourself permission to get caught in the rain, or at least splash in the rain’s puddly aftermath.