Awareness, Thankfulness and the Monsoon

Awareness, Thankfulness and the Monsoon

Dear Friends,

We have had a remarkably wet winter and spring. As the warmest time of the year approaches in Tucson and temperatures have been rising, how do we mindfully approach both our dry and wet summer seasons? Have you been aware of your thoughts as this special time of year engenders the unique climate that manifests and the forces of nature that surround it? The uncanniness of having the driest month of the year next to the wettest several months can place a strain on many persons’ sense of comfort and ease. As so much of mindfulness informs us, it is our relationship to these conditions that make them either acceptable or aversive; we get to choose.

This monsoon season, when we usually get our most plentiful rainfall, is a gift of nature that transforms a normally dry, hot desert climate into a wet, green, cloud-show panorama, second only to the East Indian monsoon. The grandeur of this phenomenon and its ability to bring tremendous winds, flooding, and hail is unprecedented.

We may enjoy the majesty of these summer storms and at the same time we are challenged to call upon our capacity to be aware and prepared for both its beauty and dangers. During these special weather systems we have the opportunity to refine our senses by listening to the drops of rainfall on the roof, the rumblings of thunder, the darkening of the skies as the storms build, the howling winds, the intensity of deep downpours of pounding rain. Our eyes see the sky illuminated with streaks and bolts of lightning, puddles growing enormous in size until they may turn into small lakes and rivers, and sky light, luminescent with rainbows glorifying the horizon., Tthen the rapture of quiet begins to arrive, the weather softens, and we hear the chirping of the cicadas in the background. And we cannot forget the aroma of chaparral, the flowering of our gardens and the dampness that pervades the air. 

All of this is enhanced by paying attention to the here and now. There is so much to learn and receive in the wonder of nature’s patterns and much to be grateful for. Heightened awareness alerts us to anything that can cause harm. Mindfulness, Sati (pali), remembering what is occurring moment by moment is the gateway to fully being alive.

During this time let us all awaken to our responsibility to do what we can to preserve this habitat. Conserve on water, keep your air-conditioning system on a moderate temperature, care for the foliage, and help in some way with the invasive buffelle grass. Be a mentor for nature and the environment.

Whether we’re seeking inner peace or global peace or a combination of the two, the way to experience it is to build on the foundation of unconditional openness to all that arises. Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth—it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened. — Pema Chodron

May you all have a wonderful summer.

In loving friendliness,