ZUBIN
MATHAI
author of the oarsman
The Rain Meditated
November 30, 2014

It has been a rainy morning, with misty drizzles and heavier downpours alternating visits; so I stayed in to have a quiet day of meditation.

Apart from a few months of time meditating in a mountain forest (such a precious forest, which embraced and wind-swept the younger me with love), I never had a sitting practice.

Over the years I tried, occasionally setting up a room with chair, incense, and pictures of teachers which resonated. Every day for a few weeks I would sit, quietly observing thoughts or resting as awareness, or just being, but it would never last. It would always feel forced.

Beautiful, spontaneous meditations did happen over the years. Walking in nature brought about the most. For this individual lifestream, being stared at by a tree, or a huge,  rock-still mountain, or a covering sky, had the most impact. They could wipe the mind clean and there would be no me, no center, for an instant, seconds or minutes. Often what was left was peace, bliss, or a silent giggle to match the silent laughter nature offered up all around.

Nowadays, if I do try a sitting practice, what resonates the most is self-enquiry. I sit and go looking for what I am.

When I was younger, the teacher Krishnamurti had a profound impact on my spiritual journey. My mind would often seize his words, look upon them as a tool I could use. But the more precious, blessed, times where when his words left little trace in me; they just parted thoughts to reveal stillness beneath.

In my twenties, when I first read Krishnamurti say “The observer and observed are one.” I immediately knew it to be true. I didn’t fully understand it, but it resonated at a deep level; a level that seemed to be what I was looking at itself in a mirror and seeing a phrase of Truth.

The rain patter echoes down the furnace vent to my left, and to my right, makes the last leg of its journey as large, heavy drips from the roof to the puddled asphalt. The sun peeks out, thirsty for its own attention again, and I can’t help but stand on the front porch and stare for a while. The wet leaves, the concrete grayer than this morning, the few hopping birds, and me, all lit up by the fleeting warmth for a few seconds.

When I meditate, when I go looking for myself, I sometimes see the observer (the imagined thinker) and sometimes I see the observed (the thoughts). But mostly, whenever I go looking for myself, I see nothing. When I ask myself “Who am I?” all that answers back is the feeling of presence; ripples of Awareness passing through and infusing.

To watch the observed as the observer, as Krishnamurti says, is arduous. To keep yourself separate, to give energy moment to moment in keeping the thinker formed is very exhausting. To let it go, even if just temporarily, is freedom.

And then, I would disagree with Krishnamurti, for in those moments it is no longer arduous. In those moments seeing the Observer and Observed as one is effortless. They are the same nothingness, simply and obviously, the full nothingness of Life, Awareness, or Consciousness.

When I sit here meditating, with the rain surrounding, and go looking for myself, there is nothing but the rain. Whatever I imagine myself to be comes and goes, and what is left has no separation from the drizzle or downpour. The rain, in this moment, is the only thing which meditates.