I am filled with you.
Skin, blood, bone, brain, and soul.
There’s no room for lack of trust, or trust.
Nothing in this existence but that existence.

Translated by John Moyne and Coleman Barks

A few days ago the ground crumbled and crunched under footfall.  The leaves and pine needles in the wooded areas swirled in the dry winds.  Now, with the gift of rain, the soil has become spongy and receptive to the pressure of my boots.  Emerald green carpets are everywhere – covering fields, hillsides and lawns with precious blades of grass and ferns.  Dandelions sprouts have popped up within the sidewalk cracks, and ferns have filled every open space between stones.

The moisture brings a welcomed relief to what seems like an endless drought.  As the earth seems to be silently but visibly rejoicing, I feel my inner compass turn to join in this promise of renewal.  The few short showers remind me of the stalwart trust that my father had in the elements.  As a farmer in an area of the Great Plains that has very little annual moisture, he would say “it will rain – it always has.”   Like most of humanity prior to him, he had a humble and ongoing understanding of humans’ symbiotic connection with the elements and rhythms of nature.  

The rain reminds me of the necessity of tears to sustain our souls.   They can be those that come with laughter and joy, or sorrow and grief.   We need the rivulets and deluges to allow our deepest selves to speak and express far more than everyday words can ever say.   Without tears, we begin to forget the first language of the heart that knows compassion, caring, and companionship.   Yet, it is just those kind and gentle qualities that allow us to offer to one another a trusting haven, so that the rains can come again, offering revitalization and hope.  

Wise words from sages, prophets, and saints inspire me to see anew.  While pointing to the eternal essence, Rumi also helps me remember that the heart is woven into the broader ecology of the universe, where there is equitable kinship between humans, the elements, the soil, and all species.  He prompts my awareness that the ecology of the heart takes loving care and nourishment.  Otherwise, it feels dry and unsated, isolated and longing within its own desert.  

As humans, most of us have never been in full harmony within our earthly embodiment.  But, I feel the rain and the timeless wisdom of the ancients are invitations to embrace wholeness and the shared nature of the parts of the whole, whether within our body, community, nation, planet, or universe.  I feel they are invitations to see the whole of life within one heart.  And, in doing so, to have the courage to grieve and begin to repair the parts that have been forgotten or dismissed, so that the whole can inter-live and reimagine a dynamic world.  This is not easy, but I want to future generations to have the ability to know, “it will rain – it always has.”   

This short practice invites a pause.

Prepare – 

  • Sit in front of a table or a desk.  Please find a place where you can be alone with yourself.
    • If seated on a chair or bench, evenly rest the soles of your feet on the floor.
  • Gently tilt your head to one side for three or four breaths.  Slowly bring your head to center.  Pause.  Then, gently tilt your head to the opposite side for a few breaths before bring your head to center again.
  • Slowly roll your shoulders in one direction a few times.  Then, the other.  
  • Interlace your fingers with your palms facing your chest.  With your fingers interlaced, squeeze your palms and fingers together.  Notice which thumb is on top.  Then, switch the interlace so that your other thumb is on top.
  • Relax your palms wherever they are comfortable, e.g., on your lap.  
    • Allow your attention to turn toward your breath.  Just notice the quality of your breath – is it smooth, raspy, ragged.  Just notice.  After several breaths, continue on with your practice.

Practice – 

  • Place your elbows on the table in front of you.  Lean in toward the table.   
  • Bend your elbows and drop your forehead into your palms.  
    • If comfortable, allow eyes to rest in the heels of your palms.   
      • Find a comfortable place for your fingers.  For example, your fingertips can curl toward the crown of your head and your thumbs toward the sides of your head.
  • Allow the weight of your head to be fully supported by your hands.  As much as needed, repeat an awareness of letting the weight go.  (Often, we hold back from completely letting go.)
    • Invite the muscles in your shoulders, jaw, and neck to relax.  
  • Allow your breath to follow its own pattern.  You may even feel like sighing.  If so, follow the cues of your body and breath.
    • Perhaps imagine that you can release, even it temporarily, all the stress that you’ve been carrying.  Again, allow the breath to just be.
    • Stay here for as long as is comfortable.
  • Very slowly bring your head away from your palms; open your eyes into a soft gaze; begin to sit upright; and, then relax your hands back onto your lap or wherever they are comfortable.  

Transition back into your day – 

  • Remain in quietude for a few moments.  
  • When you are ready, return to your day.    

The verse appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 88, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.    Photo by Marc Zimmer.  H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon.  KateVogt©2021. 

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