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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sleeping While it Rains.

deluge orchestra
swollen roof drain lullaby--
greenery stretches

~James R. Ure

I have found that some of the most profound lessons from meditative awareness come when I'm drifting off to sleep. It's a time when I'm aware of my breathing more than most times throughout the day. It's also a time when you aren't distracted by the television, computers or other distractions. It's just you and your breath; as each cycle of breath brings deeper and deeper relaxation. Often I crack the window to feel the cool breeze calm my tense muscles and skin; I focus on the smells of clean air pouring through.

So, last night it rained for the first time this Spring. It was a soft but rhythmic shower that filled our rain gutters with gurgling activity. As I listened to the rushing water in the darkness of night, my usually stubborn perceptions couldn't tell if it was a natural stream or a man-made one. In that moment, those perceptions gave up and fell away. In that moment, it was simply bubbling water. As my mind began to relax further, it melded with the sound of the rushing water, so that there was no difference between the water and the entity labeled "James." The next thing I knew, I was waking up.

I think haiku, and Buddhism are so focused on natural themes because the environment constantly evolves in the present moment. Nature adapts to changes without begrudging the changes. It also must balance upon a middle-ground between extremes, or the entire ecosystem will collapse. In addition, the natural world doesn't curse death or cling to life--it just is. It doesn't pass judgments upon itself or any of the sentient beings existing with it. It welcomes life just as much as death--it's just the cycle of existence.

These are all themes that are strongly weaved into the Dharma, and I think Buddha's enlightenment was unlocked in part by his time spent alone in the forests and along the streams of the wilds. So, if you feel that your spiritual practice has gone stale or discouragement has set-in, follow the Buddha's example, and try finding inspiration in nature; it is, after all, your first family.

~Peace to all beings~

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turquoisemoon said...

Very nice post! It's supposed to rain tonight, here in KC, so I hope I can "practice".

Tao1776 said...

Brother James. I have missed you.

BD said...

Thanks for the reminder, as a kid we lived in an old house built in 1847, it had a tin roof, the sound of the rain always made drift off to sleep , years later in the military I always loved the sound of rain on my tent, made me feel grounded.

Existential Buddhist said...

I'm rather new to meditation but I find that when I'm trying to sleep is when my mind wonders the most. I was lucky enough to try this today though - it was raining in the afternoon, so I cracked a window and tried meditating.

jbleck said...

I often find myself to be most at peace when simply sitting at a window while the rain comes down (I live in the perfect state for it too), but have never really focused on any particular meditation. Even without great effort, I feel myself as part of the natural presence around me.

This kind of feeling may not be exactly what you are getting at, be I understand the power that and simplicity that nature holds, it is a great thing.

Lon said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful inspirational post with me!

I really like the way in which you explain things!

I would be honored if you stopped by leaving a comment on my blog and became a follower as well. If you would like, that is?

I have been letting myself listen to a lot of outer opinions around me, but now I listen within, and have found that Buddhism is truly where my heart is at.

May all your moments be filled with much happiness!


Shell (misty) Chua said...

Thanks for the info! This blog seems so relaxing. So zen!

I have been having trouble going to sleep. I’d like to know what other people are doing and what’s effective (or not) for you.

I have 5 questions about how you sleep. If you could share and shed some light, please chime in my blog’s comments for answers. Thanks!

Here’s a link to my 5 Sleep Questions:

P.S. If the above doesn't come out as a link, just copy and paste on a new window. Thanks!

Joseph Difini said...

Simply beautiful. The steady drone of rain has such a transcendental quality about it. I appreciate your interpretation, I had to share it on my blog!

Anil Singh said...

How much assuring,practical ,easy going your articles are with a flavor. Of long hours of meditation,thanks brother

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