Thursday, March 31, 2011
Copyright Lance Kinseth, Becoming Rain, 24”x30, 2002
Soft rain into the opening Earth
Yet nothing has ever ceased streaming:
River, flower, body, mountain, Earth, galaxy.
“APRIL SHOWERS” evoke “water stream consciousness.” Everything in the cosmos is flowing—air, Earth, star—but water is a wide-open obvious gate.
Consciousness: 85% of the brain is water, maximizing the electronic capability of a water molecule, having an angle of 104.5 degrees to make water off-balance electronically—the stickiness of water, as substance that contains more space between molecules than most substances so that substances can be added to water without increasing its volume. Water snaps together at electronic speed, with such bonding force that only water is likely to escape from the fluid mass.
Globally, there are tens of thousands of rainstorms daily that seem to magically produce their opposite: fire/lightning. But until this point in time, in the prevernal season in the heartland of North America, rain has been lost, stolen or strayed. Now, rainless melt accrues in my homeland, visible on the surface of the land and flowing unseen into vast underground water tables, and beginning to stream upward in plants and higher still as evaporation. And the rains follow the melt, with each good rainfall releasing perhaps sixteen million tons of water per second—a one-inch rainfall, ten tons of rain per acre. Each drop of rain has swollen perhaps a million times larger than the original cloud drop. Rain on the river dissipates into millions of rings per second. These rings are, in turn, woven to the eye and continue to flow as impulses through billions of neurons interconnected by trillions of synapses.
In spring in the heartlands, the rains leap into consciousness.
Rain and the flow of water open imagery:
The Easter moon is up—thin and pale. Last night much rain.
There are puddles to be seen but not big ones. The rain drops
off the window above me and lands on my head in choir.
Thomas Merton, The Sign Of Jonas [p. 99]
Thomas Merton’s listening to the canticles of rain on the tin roof of his hermitage—listening to the speech of the rain that comes to all without discrimination, a holy water that cannot be controlled—as well as his contemplation of the “waters of Siloe”—“waters” of a deep stream of monastic practice;
currents of respiration and digestion, wind and water as life itself:
life: breath; breathe/respiration + water as the birthplace of life and the dominant body constituent [65%] and essentially the key dynamic of the body;
vinyasa—the flow of yoga asanas in conjunction with the breath;
flow of moments/time;
flowing movement and flowing heart-mind—zan [Jap.] “unbroken;”
flowing wind and water: being in harmony (和 [Chin.] he [“huh”])
with fluctuations: calm/quick, contractive/expansive
—yin-yang [Chin.], in-yo [Jap.];
pliancy: (柔 [Chin.] rou [“row”]= soft):
風 流 Furyu [Jap.] “the beauty of wind and water”
[wave +waves within wave, wind curves in snow, wind swirling in grass, cascading stream];
Softness eroding hardness; mollify vs. intensify; non-resistance [wha (K.]
open/receptive vs. planned; mushin—not dwelling in a particular place—free, like water; for awareness to grow;
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience. NY: Harper & Row, 1990: “Flow”— being “in the zone:” “The state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at a great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”
This is optimal flow, but there is a sense of flow in fluid participation in life and in encountering a sense of grace or “epiphanies” in the world as it is—in bird song, in a falling leaf, in rainfall and in the fragrance after rain, in the smile of another, by sharing food and conversation, in either the quietness or cacophony of sound in a space, in listening to music or producing a passage of music, in gardening and in walking.
With only very facile water stream consciousness, we miss our daily average direct and indirect use of perhaps 2000 gallons of water, drinking, cooking, flushing, bathing, laundry and dishwashing and food and industrial production. The way that we overlook the role of water speaks to the way that we overlook most everything.
In coming to intentional quiet practices such as restorative yoga, we might begin to slow enough to listen to the talk of the rain and to find much more there that we had anticipated. We might begin to offer up our admiration, and optimize our life by coming into harmony the most abundant single substance of the biosphere that essentially comprises each of us.