Rain Retreat Meditation

In the Buddhist tradition “Phansa” is the rainy season—typically July, August, and September. During this window of time, monks stay indoors to study, meditate, and teach. This practice stems from when Buddha stayed inside to avoid stepping on and killing insects and seedlings.

I’m fascinated by this tradition. However, with owning a healing practice and teaching, taking a three month hiatus simply isn’t prudent.

Last fall Terrill Welch over at Creative Potager posed the sprout question, “Where are you finding sublime bliss today?”

Shorty thereafter, Catie Manning over at As Told by CatMan – The Rose Bandit asked, “How do you get rid of stress?”

My answer to both was the same—in the shower.

It’s here that I take a mini Rain Retreat. Pulling in a Rubbermaid footstool, I sit with my back to the shower-head, and wholly relax as the hot water pelts my neck and shoulders, washing any physical tension right down the drain. The emotional tension melts away as I practice my personal version of metta:

I visualize myself as a smooth pebble that’s been tossed into a still pond. The pebble—me—produces a gentle ripple effect on the calm surface. The first time I say the metta, I start with myself. Then each consecutive time I replace “I” with the next person in my life—the next ring out—and so on.

It looks something like this: me, Len, our son, Kayley, individual family members, individual friends, neighbors, clients—you get the idea—until I end with,
“May all beings…”

May I live in safety
May I be healthy—body, mind, and spirit
May I live with ease
May I listen more than I speak
May my motivation be positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing
May I interact with kindness and respect
May my constant companions be peace of mind and joy
May laughter reside in my heart

Where do you go to retreat?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

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© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

51 thoughts on “Rain Retreat Meditation

  1. Sorry the photo distracted me, I was waiting for scary music, via Alfred Hictcock !

    Great idea, we don’t have a shower per se, but running water of our self is a good way to cleanse…
    I was just watching a video on clearing the energy in your house or room which suggested first to clean the clutter, fluff the pillows, wash your cloths, place salt around the room for 6 hours, of course then you have to clean that up too…

    You know I retreat on my walks with my doggies and my camera…

    • Jeff – Your comment made me laugh. I think the scary movie that you’re referring to had a shower curtain (as opposed to a glass door). That’s what made it even scarier. The audience knew that something bad was going to happen, it was the woman in the shower who was unaware. And yes, I’ve been on the receiving end of many wonderful photograph viewings after you, Riley, and Muffin have returned from a walk 🙂

  2. Laurie one of the most favorite things in my life now is my shower!!! After living without a bathroom for such a long period of time, I truly LOVE my shower and send out appreciative thoughts to the universe each day when I lather up.

    Ok time to get going. I’m taking a vacation day today to go to doctors. My feet are not cooperating at all. Time for a cortisone shot have a nice day!

  3. Thank you for this! Lovely. I, too, use the shower to cleanse body and mind! During a particularly difficult time in my life, I was taking five showers a day. 🙂

  4. Hi Laurie,
    Showers are a great place to de-stress. Years ago I was in the musical “South Pacific” and Nellie (a female lead) sings a song “Gonna Wash that Man Right Outta My Hair” – I have often done that in real life – it’s not always a MAN, but anyone who has caused me stress, or any situation – I just wash it outta my hair! I love symbolism! 🙂
    I like to have my “phansa” now, in winter, hunkered down with study, reading, writing etc. Don’t need all that many showers! 🙂


  5. Laurie you and I must have been standing under the same universal water drop the past 24 hours! I have done a call-and-answer reply post to your contribution here today. Thank you kindly for your mention and in a pinch I have used the shower for this same purpose. In desperation I have used a bathroom or kitchen sink or a creek to put my hands under and release tension back into the earth. All the best of today to you my friend!

  6. I never thought of this before, but realize I do that, but with a hot bath which also eases out the tension and stress in my body. It is a special time when I thank God for his many blessings. It is my Gratitude Retreat.

    Also, I have a fasting retreat where I have quiet time here at home, as I fast, pray, read, and listen for inspiration and guidance. It truly refreshes and makes my day better.

  7. Hi,
    I live in the tropics so I love going to the countryside where there is a slow running creek and I dangle my feet in and let the water flow over, so cold, so refreshing, so peaceful. 🙂

    • Magsx2Feet dangling in a slow running creek in the tropics…oh, that sounds absolutely delicious! If I were “I Dream of Jeannie” I think I’d blink myself out of the snow and there right now 🙂

    • Jean – Splashes right back atcha 🙂 I believe I’ve seen a “Tuesday Mornings” here in town and I’ve never been in. But now that you tell me they have great soaps from Italy and France, you can be sure I’ll stop by there soon.

  8. I live with an architect and when we moved into this house with a big claw foot bathtub he let me decorate that little bathroom. I took a Renoir painting of flowers and had wall paper made, then wainscoting white on the bottom half of the walls and around the tub. I had a friend make a potters table to hold the sink, which is a glass meditation bowl and put in contemporary hand pumps for the faucets. Tile floor in a barn brown and rough. Then my eldest daughter made a chair for a school project as the pilgrims would have made do…
    I fill the tub full and just soak and de stress….sometimes with music, sometimes with essential oils ….

    I will say after this storm and the scary tree falling almost on my house…I can feel all the fear and tension in my muscles still….I think I would need a meditative walk first before the bath….but reading is helping until the ice gives up a path…
    Nice post…thank you for sharing

    • Patricia – I love the word picture you painted of your bathroom — it sounds fantastic! Many years (more than three decades) ago when I lived in Washington state I had a claw foot tub — it was ginormous (you could practically swim in it). I loved soaking in it. I’m so glad to know that you and yours are okay after this last storm.

  9. Laurie, I can retreat almost anywhere and shut out the world . Since I travel a lot on buses and trains I gradually imagine there are lots of copies of me sitting on the spare seats, or sitting on the roof, or sometimes flying along outside – they are like my “meditation army” that amplify my thoughts, normally sending them to my friends – I stole that idea from Jimmy Page who overdubbed songs many times to produce his “guitar army”.
    My positive thoughts seem to look after my friends, that is the most important thing.

  10. I can almost FEEL that hot shower drizzling down MY back Laurie, washing away alllllllllllll the stuck energy, stopped emotion and revitalizing my very essence. Thank you for reminding me that I too can do this. . . every day!!

  11. When it’s not raining–boy can I relate to the monks–I walk down to my park bench. Okay, it’s not really “mine”. In fact, the plaque has someone else’s name on it. But each day at … o’clock it becomes mine. I sit there and write, mediate, enjoy the view, and… I return to the world with a heart full of wonder.

  12. I’m fortunate to live less than five minutes away from The Grotto, a Servite monastery built on a natural rock grotto. When I’m stressed, I go and wander the grounds, among the firs and ferns and flowers. Never ceases to ease my mind. Also, I live in Portland, so I’m all about water as a relaxer–why, I believe there’s some falling from the sky at this very minute!

    • CharlotteYears ago I lived in Washougal, Washington, just a hop-skip-and-a-jump across the Columbia River from Portland and The Grotto. Gosh, but it’s a small world. I’m glad you visited Speaking from the Heart from the beautiful land of liquid sunshine 🙂

  13. I find my showers invigorating – all my best ideas pop into my head in the shower. For stress relief I give myself Reiki, and repeat affirmations similar to the ones you use in the shower. Bliss…

  14. Oh, if only some recording mogul could hear my singing in the shower….mmm… maybe not.
    January and February are the months that I let it out and just chill. March begins the winding up process and it culminates at Christmas. With the new Grandson arriving this week and the drama that goes with that maybe I’ll just sleep through February, a nice hibernation.

    • Sandi – I’m so excited for the birth of Jordan, whoohoo! And with all the anxious waiting that surrounded his arrival, I think you would do well to hibernate through February and then hit the ground running in March 🙂

  15. The idea of retreat no longer really applies to me.
    It is more the idea of balance.
    I love being with my family, in my home.
    I love to play golf.
    I love to go for a walk in the mountains.
    I love to stand at the kitchen window and watch the ocean and the ocean life.

    So I attempt to balance my life with all of these things.

  16. I also though of that (in) famous Hitchcock movie Laurie! But love the photo! There’s little to match a hot shower for meditative reflextion and just plain old recharging those batteries. I will say that the shower is the place I often go to as well, though I also lean back on my PC recliner, close my eyes and take a break!

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