Complaint
is only possible
while living in the suburbs
of God.
Hafiz

 

I tugged my raincoat over a couple layers of sweaters and pulled on my boots. What had started as a few sprinkles was now in the third day of colder temperatures and heavy rain. The local creek waters have risen and dozens of new rivulets have appeared on the hillsides. In some places, the heavy earth has slid downward. Everywhere there is the sound of the movement of water rushing, clattering, and at times roaring.

The intense wetness had not only altered patterns in the landscape, but also all the local human activity. My puffy attire is just one little example.  Traffic has slowed; parents are out with their children helping them wade through the puddles; and, inside the grocery stores and coffee shops, there are no signs of cell phones. Most striking is that people are talking to and helping one another. Complaints, and the customary dialog of one-upping one another with grumbling, seem to have magically disappeared. Instead, most of the conversations are filled with expressions of gratitude for being safe and stories of kindness from neighbors.

These dramatic shifts in human behaviors are perhaps not so surprising when we reflect on the grace of our existence and its connection to water. On a purely physical level, a large percentage of our body is water. It is essential to key bodily functions: regulating body temperature; metabolizing and transporting nutrients; distributing oxygen; cushioning the brain and spinal cord; removing toxins; and enabling us to express deep emotions through our tears. Plants and trees need water to nourish us and other living beings with food and air. It clears away our waste and is fundamental to some of our most creative and artistic adventures.

Our planetary home is also largely water. On our “blue” planet, water is ever-present. Water reminds us of the flow of life.   Its molecules exist in the forms of solid, liquid, and gas. We recognize these forms as ice, fluids, and vapor/steam, but on a broader level, they represent the eternal realms of earth, atmosphere, and heaven. Universally, ancients regarded water as sacred. For example, the Greeks honored the multi-dimensionality of water with more than two dozen gods and goddesses, e.g., for the ocean, rivers, etc. Water is at the heart of holy ceremonies and rituals to symbolically purify, cleanse, and bring closeness to the divine.

I like to think that those millions of raindrops are caring reminders of the divine connectedness of all things and beings. As humans, we often live separately from this awareness, or as the poet Hafiz says, we can live “in the suburbs of God.”   When we are removed from the awareness of our true nature, our behaviors slip into harshness and complaints.  The rain carried an ancient message of the wholeness of all, and temporarily freed us from the illusion of separateness.

As if to add an exclamation point to the message within the waters, the sky cleared soon after I went outside. Dewdrops glistened in the light on the grass and leaves, a double rainbow appeared, and once again people paused and smiled. Even with its scary potential to displace our human habitats, I am grateful for the rainfall and the divine hidden within this water-full life.  Each time I touch water – to drink, shower, cook, etc. – I’ll silently say “thank you.” I hope you will join me.

Practice

This practice supports awareness of water to wash away unwanted emotions and nourish your energies.

  •  Prepare –
    • Find a comfortable seated position. If seated on a chair, place the soles of both feet on the floor.
    • Release tension in your hands and finger by gently wrapping your fingers over your thumbs, squeezing, and then slowly letting go.
      • Try hugging your thumbs 3-7 times. Then, relax through your hands.
    • Take a moment to acknowledge the watery fluids in your body, e.g., the blood in your veins, subtle moisture in the breath.
    • Deeply inhale and slowly exhale a few times.
  • Practice –
    • Imagine that your schedule is free and you are outside in a comfortable, beautiful natural spot.
      • For example, this could be in a garden, at the beach, on a balcony, or any place where there is water or plants.
    • Feel as though the sun is shining and that it begins to lightly rain. The rain is so light that you do not feel the need to move.
      • The temperature of the rain is warm and refreshing.
      • Imagine that as the rain touches your skin, it generously carries away stress and any unwanted underlying emotions.
      • Gently breathe.
    • After a few minutes, the rain disappears and a rainbow appears in the sky. Feel the air around you and any sounds of nature, such as the wind or a bird.
      • Deeply inhale and slowly exhale a few times.
  • Transition back into your day –
    • Sit quietly for a few moments.
    • Hold your palms in front of you and cup them together.
      • Imagine as though fresh water is poured into your palms.
      • Gently reach the water up toward your face and lightly brush your fingertips across your face as though washing your face.
      • Invite a sense of renewed joyfulness and energy.
    • When you are ready, return to the activities of your day.

This poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 12, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2019.

 

 

 

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