Today I went for a run in the rain and found myself slowing down to a walk because I wanted to pay more focused attention to everything around me. The blossom which had enchanted me with its lush blur as I sped past, was even more exquisite when I stopped and stood beneath the laden branches. I felt a sense of wonder, an intoxicating beauty, appreciating the jewel like droplets of rain embellishing the petals, each perfect sphere containing a complete world in its reflection.
It seemed as if the entire world had come to rest, yet there was a great deal of potential and life within the stillness, a pregnancy about this pause. It was if my mind slowed down along with my heart-rate and a deep sense of peace overcame me. My senses felt heightened, perception acute, I found myself in front of a mosaic wall reading the words, “And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow“.
The power of the significance of reading these words on the day before Easter struck a chord deep within me. I reflected that Easter Saturday is very much a day of stillness, a fulcrum in between the grief of crucifixion and hope born anew in the resurrection. There is hope to be found in this day too, as it teaches us not to despair in the face of the limited perspective of a present horizon but to remember that suffering, even death itself, is a transient condition.
At yoga this morning, our teacher, Shiva Das, announced that the theme of the class would be the water element, inspired by the rainy morning we found ourselves in. He spoke about embracing the element of water, the feminine, fluidity in all senses of the word.
As I practiced, listening to the rhythmic thrum of the rain on the roof and lulled into a deep meditative state, I thought about the nourishing quality of Spring rain. The way it falls so gently and seeps into the fragrant earth, calling forth green shoots of new life. I reflected on this promise of growth hidden within her darkness and wondered what seeds that lie within me, I would like to nurture into growth.
Patience and tolerance came to mind and, like water, the ability to flow. Moving gracefully around the obstacles in one’s path, instead of meeting them with brittle resistance. So I offer you this intention today, what seeds do you wish to plant and nurture into growth in your life today?
All these thoughts of rain and blessings, reminded me of this beautiful chant, “Like Rain” by my friend, Durga Das David Newman. Enjoy, Namaste.
I love this quote because it reflects my approach to healing: When I have the opportunity to present to doctors, I always ask that they erase from their vocabulary the words “there is nothing more we can do for you”. I believe that the duty of care for one called to heal others is about so much more than the successful correction of a physical malfunction. Healing to me is about restoration to a sense of wholeness, about finding peace and receiving comfort. It is helping someone discover a spark of hope or joy in the darkest night, dispensing the most powerful medicine of all – love. This quote is from Neem Karoli Baba, the guru of my friend David Newman aka Durga Das, artist, practitioner and teacher of Bhakti yoga – the yoga of devotion, who introduced me to the joys of Kirtan, which is a form of sung meditation.
My soul said to me, there is suffering,
And she led me into the dark lands,
Deep into the darkness without a light; She trained me in all the ardors
Of opening to the darkness,
And of waiting, without hope, in the darkest night.
My soul said to me, there is suffering,
And stripped away my robe of glory;
She stripped away my very flesh, and then my bones
She said, feel deeply now into the emptiness,
Learn all it has to teach you,
But first abandon any dream of going home.
My soul said to me, you are opened now –
I have made your heart transparent;
She descended then, like a queen who claims her throne;
And she blazed forth with a radiance
That illumined all the darkness,
And I knew myself at last, and all was home.
My soul said to me, I am the light
That brings an end to suffering;
I am the mystic star that portends the mystic birth.
I enter matter to redeem her,
Falling down into the darkness;
Now I awaken in your heart and walk the earth.
My soul said to me, will you serve now?
I would make of you a vessel;
There is suffering, so many beings lost and alone.
In tears I answered, how can you ask me this,
As though I could refuse you,
As though my every cell were not your own.
My soul said to me, I will carry you,
For your journey is far from over,
But from here your every step belongs to me;
I will guide you and sustain you,
Transform you and act through you,
And not cease until every being is free.