In a previous blog post, I introduced the idea of a Meditation Retreat for you – but what if you can’t necessarily take several days in a row for a retreat? Maybe you’re just getting started with a meditation practice and have no idea where to begin? Check out the two sample meditations I’ve included in the article and use them to start or continue your meditation practice.
Rainy days may interfere with baseball games and outdoor weddings but your meditation practice can flourish in just about any kind of weather. Try these two meditations for rainy (or inclement) days that will help you relax and purify. Consider recording the prompts in our own voice onto your smartphone or other device so that you can use the meditations again and again.
A Relaxing Meditation for a Rainy Day
1. Get into a comfortable position. Sit on a chair or floor cushion. Ensure your back is straight and your head is aligned over your spine. Let your arms rest at your sides or in your lap.
2. Listen to the rain fall. Open your ears to the sound of the rain hitting the ground. If other sounds distract you, regard them with a neutral attitude and keep your attention on the rain.
3. Distinguish between sounds. As the minutes pass, you’ll become aware of the different sounds made by the water hitting different surfaces. Notice the sounds made by a puddle or compare hard pavement to soft mud.
4. Engage all your senses. Go for the full experience. Think about how rain smells and feels against your skin. Conjure up the sensation of drinking water and follow the journey from your lips to your stomach.
5. Retrieve pleasant memories. Go back in time to other rainy days. Remember, for example, leaving your umbrella behind at the school bus stop so your mother could retrieve it after you got on board.
6. Name the sensations. If it helps you to put your thoughts into words, let them float up into your consciousness without struggling for them. See what terms your mind connects with rain and water.
7. Abide in the feeling. Now, relax in the feeling you’ve created. Put aside any worries and plans for the day. Just enjoy settling back and taking your time.
8. Get up slowly. When your session is over, keep the composure with you. Gently bring yourself to a standing position. Allow your mind to gradually return to taking up daily activities.
9. Play it again. These days you can summon a rainy day anytime you want. Browse online for a recording of rainfall or make your own so you always have one on hand.
A Cleansing Meditation for a Rainy Day
1. Find a room with a view. Pick a seat where you can see the rain. You may choose a bench under a window or head out to an enclosed porch. If you don’t have a “room with a view” consider using a favorite piece of artwork or try another location – like at a local yoga studio, or even a public library.
2. Observe the rain. Look up to the skies. See the clouds go by and the heavens darken. Try to pick out a stream of rain and track its descent to earth.
3. Watch your thoughts. Let your attention to turn to your own mental activity. Without making any judgments or performing any analysis, just observe what is already on your mind. Notice any issues that are causing concern for you or the people you love.
4. Imagine healing suffering. Use the rainwater as a metaphor for an element that can purify and heal. Just like water washes dirt off your laundry or dishes, the power of positive thoughts and virtuous actions can wash away the suffering in the world.
5. Make a practical resolution. Extend the benefits of your meditation by resolving to improve one situation that day. You may decide to visit an elderly neighbor or pass on a helpful lead to an unemployed friend.
6. Invent a reminder. Once you get up from your seat, it’s easy to get distracted by the daily load of responsibilities. Pick an image or a word that will remind you of your resolution so you’ll be sure to follow through.
The sound of rainfall and the cleansing properties of water make rainy days an auspicious time to improve your meditation practice. Brighten all your days by becoming more mindful of the world around you.