The Falling Rain
November 17, 2013 § 12 Comments
I feel the anger rise up- and I breathe.
I sense my busy head at work, slamming one thought into another, spinning, spinning, spinning- and I breathe.
Hard things, tough, gut-wrenching things rise into my consciousness- and I breathe.
If we use our practice only to evade the fear, to dance away, to push down the thoughts, we gain nothing spiritually, only perhaps a temporary physical reprieve from the symptoms of our fear. This is a false and brittle sense of peace, the illusion of peace.
To be truly at peace is to be beyond the reach of anger, anxiety, or fear. It is to be at the center. Strong, open, and ready.
Right now, as I look out my window, I see the cold rain falling. I want to step out into that rain. I don’t want to stay inside or wear a raincoat. I don’t want to avoid or pretend to manage the rain.
I want the rain to fall upon me.
I want to exist in this way.
Merry Christmas, my friend!
All the best to you and your loved ones in year 2014.
Amazing and thank you friend, there are many inspirational articles
Beautiful. I love letting rain wash over me. Somehow it feels right.
Facing anger, fear, a sense of inadequacy and shame is not an easy thing to do. Breathing deeply, watching what is “up” without making any judgment about it is what helps me to accept the hidden giants.
Your words always inspire me and remind me to come home to myself. Thank you, Tom. You’re a beautiful, gentle teacher.
Excellent. Sit in the middle of self and BE what you are learning to become. Excellent.
So I’m curious… did you go out and stand in the rain?
Absolutely. I felt the rain and the cold damp air. Heard the sound of rain as it hit the remaining leaves clinging to the trees around me. Smelled the freshness that comes with the rain. It was all just perfect.
Well done… 🙂
It’s the strangest thing Thomas, but whenever I read a post from you it highlights current issues in my life. I know that you are absolutely right. I know that my attempts to always step away from, to avoid, or to detach from anger, pain, and uncomfortable issues does not solve the problem. I know I’m just hiding and avoiding. I think I still have a long way to go. It’s a bumpy road at the moment; no point wishing it was smooth. Need to fully absorb the bumps – just as you want to absorb the rain.
I love your wise thoughts.
This piece is a breath of fresh air, one that I needed immensely. Thank you 🙂
I dance with anger, anxiety, fear, and a bunch of other uncomfortable and even harsh teachers. I practice learning from them, letting them do no harm. I am still well within their reach, though, as they remind me daily. I am open to their teachings, and their lessons are sometimes very tough. Still, I practice. That’s the best I can do, and be.
To be open and strong. That’s it. Practice is essential, I agree. But I sometimes feel that I am play acting at it- pretending- not really opening myself to the feelings- just calming down in some physical and superficial way.
But as you so wisely say, “that’s the best I can do.”
Thank you for taking the time to leave your thoughts.
There are specific meditative practices you can employ that I think that would help more than just ‘calming down’.
Metta Practice (also known as Lovingkindess) as well as Tonglen Practice are just two:
There’s many kinds of ways you can do lovingkindess, but I like the simplicity of this one:
May I be happy
May I be peaceful and at ease
May I be filled with JOY
May I experience Love
May you be happy
May you be peaceful and at ease
May you be filled with JOY
May you experience Love
You can extend this to people who you aren’t so fond of, and even (probably most especially) your enemies. You can even extend this to emotions (anger, sorrow, frustration), just substitute “my anger, etc” for the subject – even if it is quite awkward to do so. I’ve done it with “my Inner Child” too, and well, burst into tears because it felt good to take care of that part of me that was so long neglected and in pain.
and here is a great tonglen practice:
“This is the core of the practice: breathing in other’s pain so they can be well and have more space to relax and open, and breathing out, sending them relaxation or whatever you feel would bring them relief and happiness. However, we often cannot do this practice because we come face to face with our own fear, our own resistance, anger, or whatever our personal pain, our personal stuckness happens to be at that moment.
At that point you can change the focus and begin to do tonglen for what you are feeling and for millions of others just like you who at that very moment of time are feeling exactly the same stuckness and misery. Maybe you are able to name your pain. You recognize it clearly as terror or revulsion or anger or wanting to get revenge. So you breathe in for all the people who are caught with that same emotion and you send out relief or whatever opens up the space for yourself and all those countless others. Maybe you can’t name what you’re feeling. But you can feel it —a tightness in the stomach, a heavy darkness or whatever. Just contact what you are feeling and breathe in, take it in —for all of us and send out relief to all of us. ”
These are just two things you can do. I don’t think just opening up to the pain and struggle is really something that is, by itself, fruitful. Opening is the first part, right? Like this, I’m turning down my mind, not running for my usual avoidance tactics and I truly am feeling my feelings. I can even describe the place in my body where I feel tension, perhaps I can feel the texture, the weight of it, the enormity of it. I can possibly even determine what got me hooked. But now what to do I do? All that is good information, but doesn’t actually work with my suffering or transform it.
Holding the resultant emotional experience with tenderness and compassion can be a lot more active than just emptying our minds, breathing and wallowing in sensation and emotion. Or wondering if I’m really open or not. Trust me, you’ll open even more through the process of these lovingkindness and tonglen practices.
These meditations direct our intentions into something that is useful and quite transformative of what we are feeling.
This is something that we intense thinkers and problem-solvers will find quite relieving. It gives our often-grasping minds something constructive to do, you know?
Try them out and let me know what you think.