I wrapped up in a sheet and sat in the pouring rain last night in the backyard. It had been raining off and on, short spells of pouring. I was reminded of a powerful waterfall meditation I’d had once at a retreat, so I prepared for it. I pulled a bedsheet out of the closet and wrapped it around me like a cloak. I went out into the backyard and found a grassy spot to sit on. The skies were cloudy, no moon in sight at 9:30 pm. It was about 77 degrees. I began by preparing myself by breathing rhythmically. Within a few moments, a downpour hit and I could feel it pummel down on me. I had the sheet over my head as well, but within a moment I was soaked through. I’d prepared myself for the chill by doing yogic fire breaths.
I gave my body up to the pummelling and let myself merge with it, focusing on my breath all the while, to keep myself in the Observer state. That’s the practice, to give yourself up to the elements, while remaining conscious of your body doing so. For the first few minutes, all attention is on the sensation of the pounding onto your body and the loud sound. You feel how small you are, compared to Nature’s might. The mind’s instinct is to get out of the rain. The mind does not like anything drowning it out. It likes to pretend it’s in control. It likes to take you down this rabbit hole or that, spinning you in circles until YOU choose to step out of that maze and begin to do soul work.
That’s what meditation is all about: you bringing your mind under conscious control on a regular basis – via daily practice – to develop the discipline to have it do your bidding. You WILL concentrate when I say! You WILL eat what I know to be healthy. You WILL walk daily because a fit body is a dependable vehicle. You WILL sit daily for meditation and practice bringing your attention back to your breath as many times as it takes. That’s the practice. You WILL give up the idea of achieving a blank mind, because as long as you have that as a goal, you will not achieve it. Have as your goal simply to continue to bring your attention back to your breath, no matter what is going on around you. That’s the practice. In the warm, dry, dark and quiet meditation hall, it’s fairly easy to do. Sitting wrapped in a sheet being pummelled by rain, now that is a yoga.
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