I love my adopted homeland of Seattle for its constantly dripping sky, and I think part of that is my love of water. I like the feel of rain on my skin, the gentle mist that fills the air. I like to walk through the wet streets in the dark, watching the headlights glint off the puddles. I love the sound of the rain as it hits umbrellas and overhangs.
Much of this love of water transfers inside. I love showers, too, and I particularly like to take them in the dark. Not pitch black, mind you—that would be dangerous. Besides, I might end up washing my brunette strands with mouthwash or something. I do not want minty-fresh tresses for work. In order to prevent such unfortunate incidents, I like to light a candle and shower under its flickering light. That way I can see the basics and focus on the relaxation being offered me. With less to look at it’s easier to screen out distractions.
I remember reading about this little trick in a meditation book years ago. I thought it sounded silly—until I tried it. Part of what attracts me to Zen is the way it is integrated into daily life. One aspect of Buddhism can be summed up by the slogan “be where you are.” You’ve probably heard it. It’s on mugs and t-shirts. What does it mean?
Aren’t I always where I am? Nope—not at all. My body may be fixed in place, but my mind wanders like a two-year old lost in a mall. Sometimes it’s hard to find again. Better not to lose the mind in the first place.
When I shower, I try to just shower. I let my constant babble of thoughts slide down the drain while I focus on the warm water hitting my skin. Ah, the scent of the green tea soap—so slippery, such nice lather! I enjoy the mini scalp massage as I work the coconut shampoo into my hair. I feel the conditioner as it detangles. Ahhhhhh. I could tell you more, but there’s a fluffy towel with my name on it. I don’t want to keep it waiting.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
23. Try out a shower in the dark, being fully present with the water and the soap. If you don’t have any candles, run out and get some first. Was it a joyful experience?