The Joy of Rain

Reasons why rain is wonderful…

1. Song

It’s rainingit’s pouring,
The old man is snoring,
He went to bed and bumped his head,
And couldn’t get up in the morning.

I love singing that to my kids whenever it rains. It takes me back to being a child, and I suppose singing always makes little children happy. Adults too.

2. Sound

There is pretty much nothing as meditative as being still and listening to rain falling, on the ground, on the roof, on your umbrella. I woke up at 6.30 this morning and had half an hour of wonderful listening to rain – endless thoughts – listening to rain – endless thoughts – before getting up.

3. Weathering with You

My son is into manga and anime. We went to the cinema to see the anime film Weathering with You. I thought I might be a bit unsure about anime films, but it was incredible. The quality of the drawing and animation was breathtaking, and the central motif was rain. It rained and rained and rained and rained, and the rain was drawn so beautifully it was mesmerising.

4. A doorway to inner peace about everything

One summer’s day quite a few years ago we were sitting in the meditation hall is Plum Village, a buddhist monastery in France we used to visit for family retreats. That day the wonderful Dordogne sunshine had been replaced by pouring rain. We were listening to a talk by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, which he began by softly saying:

Breathing in I know it is raining
Breathing out I smile to the rain

I’ll never forget that. It has made me smile at rain ever since. First there is awareness and acceptance of the fact that it is raining. Secondly we smile at it as there’s nothing to be done about it, and it’s beautiful.

5. Low hanging fruit

In Living from a Place of Surrender Michael Singer calls rain, and all other weather we might not like, low-hanging fruit on the path to being happy with whatever comes along in life.

Imagine it’s raining and we don’t want it to, our mind starts up its endless chat, “I hate rain, it’s ruining my plans, it’s been going on for days…etc!” But it’s just rain. The rain is just doing its thing – raining. We can’t control it or do anything about it. If we say, “It’s raining, I can accept that, not much else to do, I can make other plans, or enjoy it,” we are relaxing and releasing all our bad thoughts and mental chatter about rain. You can’t control the weather, might as well let go of our ideas about whether it’s good or bad!

So you start with the weather (rain, heat, cold, wind), this easy, low hanging fruit we can work with every day, and then one day your boss/partner/a traffic cop is having a go at you – and you realise you can’t control that either! And you relax and release all your reactions because you’ve got really good by practicing with the weather – and in the end you realise that everything is low-hanging fruit! You start letting go of annoyed and difficult thoughts about everything! All thanks to the rain or the wind or the heat or the cold!

I’ve been experimenting with this for a few weeks, it really works.

6. Umbrellas

I love my big black umbrella with it’s fake wood handle. It makes me think of people in suits in London. No idea why I like that. I love the sound the rain makes on it. I like the fact it means I still get a walk even though it’s raining. It rescued my cherished half-hour walk to the library where I’m sitting this morning. And the walk through pouring rain got me thinking about rain, which got me writing all this, so I’m immensely grateful to my umbrella. Oh, and umbrellas make wonderful subjects for photographs and drawings…