Two responses to rain

Rain is pouring out of the heavens today. Two responses:

The contemplative monk in me hears the pelting, sees the water falling across the earth, and smells the bright green cypress fronds as the wetness brings their freshness into my nostrils. He has all the time in the world because he is here in the now.

The rational guy in me, who gets stuck in the ordinary awareness of the dualistic mind, worries about getting wet, speeds up on the interstate to get around the slowing traffic like a mad man, and prefers to watch a random Netflix movie on a rainy Friday than write this reflection. He doesn’t have time to stop and hear, see, or smell.

The contemplative guy finds a speaking Voice in the rain. He hears a subtle call to slow down and just be as receptive as the ground drinking this moisture. He discovers a moment of sacred gratitude for all things green which are being fed by the heavens right now.

The rational guy is reluctant to slow his pace, which mostly seems to him like wasting time. And he is rarely grateful for much of anything because he is rarely here at all. For he always tends to feel pulled in other directions to accomplish something that matters, and he is sure that rain doesn’t really matter.

There are two men in me, (at least), and they are not really close friends. The contemplative seeks to be present to the Divine in each moment. The rational man just wants to be productive.

The contemplative feels he must take time every morning to breathe in Spirit for a little while. The rational man just keeps jumping from one task to the next, trying to postpone inner stillness. Sometimes the two are at odds.

More to the point, the rational guy in me finds most aspects of contemplative living uncomfortable. He would really rather avoid times of silence, solitude, stillness, and simple being. While the contemplative in me longs for those four principles and wants to make them the foundation of his life.

The contemplative guy is fine with being active and productive. He simply wants to know the Wild Divinity who is present in the midst. But the rational guy questions the validity of all religious concepts and is fairly sure they are imaginary.

Every moment I am choosing which guy to be.

Each time I choose to be my contemplative self I find my inner void filled a bit by Presence. This satisfies my soul like this Friday rain feeding the underground roots of a giant live oak tree.

And most of the time, when I live out of the rational doer in me, I am more like what the Buddhists call the “hungry ghost.” There is really no end to that perpetual emptiness.

Every moment I am choosing which guy to be.


About soulcare4u

I am the author of Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic World, published by Wipf & Stock and available through; and of a blog on, "A Contemplative Path." I serve as the founding spiritual director of The School for Contemplative Living (, adjunct faculty of Loyola University, and as a pastoral counselor and spiritual director in private practice.
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