Being is not what it seems,
nor non-being.
The world’s existence
is not in the world.

Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks

Plop. Plop. Plop.  A sound of renewal reverberated through the bedroom window.  Small rain droplets fell smoothly from the eaves onto tree leaves.  Plop (silence), plop (silence),  each droplet was giving voice to the underlying pulse of life.  Like notes of the song of time, each one was offering sweet praises from whence it came and where it will arise again – from heaven to earth and earth to heaven.

There had been no thunder or lightning announcing the rain.  Yet, there was no need for a weather report.  The sky had greyed, while chilly winds swirled in the treetops. Spiders began weaving webs in protected areas, the birds culled and pecked more vigorously than usual, and squirrels disappeared.  Even the smell within the air sweetened.

The steady plops on the leaves told the story of this rain shower.  Moisture from the earth had risen upward toward the sky, helping form clouds that then stretched across the sky.  Because clouds naturally dissipate, the moisture returned downward as rain.   It was a simple story, without dwelling upon the delicate nuances of the grace of rain.

Still, the rhythmic plopping felt like a reminder that the basal story of life is held within each raindrop.  As moisture returns from the sky, it feeds the rivers, streams, aquifers, and other natural bodies of water.  It nourishes the soils, bringing a banquet of fresh textures, shapes, aromas and sounds.  It contributes to nutrients and breath for the earth’s rooted, winged, finned, and roaming beings.  A single raindrop carries timeless stories – that the whole is collective of all its parts, and the parts reflective of the whole.

Beyond the eaves, there was an enclave of raindrops.  They were a community of belonging in which each carried the title of “rain.”  Every droplet was rain.  Every one – plop, plop, plop – inviting us to hear its story, to listen, and to understand we too are rain.

Practice
This short practice invites awareness of water.   

Prepare – 

  • Standing:
    • Stand on one foot, lift the other foot and move your ankle around.  Shift sides.
      • If comfortable, do this without shoes.
    • With both feet on the floor, curl your toes under.  Then, lift them up and spread your toes wide apart.
      • Repeat three times
    • Bend your knees with hips back far enough so you can see your toes.
      • Pause here for three breaths. 

Practice – 

  • Imagine you are outside after a big rain.  The sun is shining and the air is warm.  There are puddles of water all around you.
  • Walk around the perimeter of these imaginary puddles.  See the ground as wet, but firm.
    • Notice the rhythm and quality of your step.
    • There is no right or wrong.  Just noticing your feet and how they are connecting to the surface beneath you.
    • Continue, and notice how the rest of your body feels and responds as you do this.  Perhaps notice any sensations or feelings.
  • Approach one of the imaginary puddles.  Step one foot in and then the other.  The water is ankle deep, not deeper.
    • Begin to walk around in the puddle.
      • Again, notice the rhythm and quality of your step.
      • Notice how the rest of your body feels and responds as you do this.  Perhaps notice any sensations or feelings.
    • Pause.
    • Now, invite yourself to step and make splashes in the puddles.
      • Again, notice the rhythm and quality of your step.
      • Be aware of how the rest of your body feels and responds as you do this.  Perhaps notice any sensations or feelings.
      • Perhaps step into another puddle and continue.
      • When you are ready, step out of the puddle back to the firmer ground.
    • If comfortable, say “thank you” to the water.
  • Still standing, reach your hands out in front of you, palms upward.  Imagine it is raining.  Allow your palms to fill with water.  Then, holding the water, slowly lift your hands upward into a V-shape and offer the water back to the sky.
    • Holding your arms in the V-shape, breathe for three breaths.
    • Open your fingers so the water can flow back down to the earth.
    • Bring your hands over your heart – one hand over the other.  Bow you head slightly.  Allow your eyes to rest in a soft gaze or closed.
      • Silently:
        • Thank the rain.
        • Thank the waters that flow across the earth.
        • Thank the waters and fluids that flow within you.
        • Thank the water keepers and caretakers who work to preserve the flow of water for the well-being of all.

Transition back into your day – 

  • Seated.  Sit quietly for as long as comfortable.  Invite a soft awareness of your breath.
  • When you are ready, return to your day.

H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon.  This  poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 93, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.  The photo is by “kahika” on Unsplash.   KateVogt©2021.

 Spring Wisdom Circle – If you would like to know about the philosophical underpinnings of these H E A R T H reflections, this Spring I am offering an online study group, 5 Thursdays, 3:15-4:45 p.m. PT, May 6-June 10, 2021.  Please contact me for more information.

 

 

 

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