Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Outside the falling rain is providing a beautiful and lulling symphony. Rain is such an incredible example of silver lining. We don’t have flooding here (and my house is high on a hill so I doubt I will ever have to worry about it personally, but one never knows), and I think the amount of rain we’ve had lately will be good for crops, but it does come with dangers if we get too much. There’s also the tendency to remain indoors, rather than getting out into the day on rainy days which stymies our activities. And yet, it’s so incredibly soothing to listen to, a great meditation.
Thunderstorms are a different matter altogether. Yes, I do love thunderstorms, mainly because of my mother. I had awoken to a bad thunderstorm late at night (or too early in the morning) and was quite frightened by it. I went into mom and dad’s room, and no doubt woke them up. Mom took me down to the dining room (our largest window), and we stood watching the lightening and listening to the rolling thunder until I was no longer afraid. It is one of my most cherished memories of my mother.
Not everybody enjoys thunderstorms. My poor dog (who has passed many years ago) would hide every time there was a thunderstorm. She wouldn’t even sit with me. She would get under a table, or behind a piece of furniture, her ears drooping, and her sad eyes shifting between looking up and looking at me. No amount of coaxing would get her out from her hiding spot to sit with me. So far, we’ve not had a good strong thunderstorm for me to see how my little feline buddy Star will respond.
Recently, my friend asked on her social media page how one meditates. For me, and I know for many people, listening to rain is akin to meditation. It has the effect of simply quieting the mind and relaxing the soul. If you’ve ever lost track of time, found yourself at ease without a care in the world even for a few minutes while listening to the rain, I’m sure that’s a form of meditation.
For me, the same effect occurs when I hear the sound of a gurgling brook. Often, when I’m very depressed I’ll find some kind of a wooded area, a hiking trail, and I’ll seek out a small stream. If I hear the water running, I’ll often just sit and listen. It has a very similar effect to a nice downpour. In fact, as I think about this, I realize that I haven’t done this in a few years, and don’t know of any such nature hike areas near where I am living today. I think maybe I need to start exploring a bit.
Music can be very meditative for me. As I write this, I’m listening to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Not exactly opera or classical music, it was a daring foray into that style of music for a rock band. Personally, I also love classical music (Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Handel and the rest of the gang). Without lyrics, it’s so easy to get lost in the melody, moved by the composition of the music which is so often lacking in other forms of music, and yet, I am very much a lyrics person. I’ve been listening to rock long enough that the very familiarity of the music that I listen to can often lull me into a meditative state as well. When I’m stressed, or anxious about something, putting on music always helps. I still remember being very depressed when moving into a new place that I reached out to a friend for help. He came over, turned on the radio, and left. It was all I needed to motivate me.
The world can be a frightening, high pressure place. My friend who asked about meditation is today worried about her daughter who is undergoing a relatively minor and routine procedure, but a medical procedure, nonetheless. My heart is with her as I write this (and it’s been over a week ago by the time you read it), but I’m sure she needs some meditation therapy as a result.
It’s not common for most of us to face medical pressure on a routine basis (although, I’m sad to report, I do have friends who face these stresses nearly every day), and yet, daily life creates its own stress for us. I’m frequently stressed by the news, political and military conflict, worries over finances, and it goes on. Thankfully, today it’s raining.