It seems a bit odd that the woman trying to recover her life from a flooded basement to be proclaiming the merits of rain, but I can’t help myself. Rain is too often seen as either a nuisance or a cliche, either ruining your hair before you can get to the party or startlingly devoid of all the handsome men that seem to stand on street corners in movies, just waiting to kiss a beautiful yet slightly soggy woman. Despite this, the rain has some very restorative properties that are linked directly to us as humans. Therefore, I hope that even though rain can be one of the most destructive forms of precipitation, you might be able to appreciate it more fully in the future.
I’m from the Midwest, so when it rains, it pours. Before it rains, however, it is miserably humid. The air seems to hold on to as much moisture as is possible without you actually seeing it floating around you. If you’ve never experienced this much humidity, I do not recommend it. It is miserable. But once the rain starts to fall, a blessed reprieve is offered to us sweaty people. This physical release from an otherwise unpleasant environment is one that some people don’t even realize they should enjoy. They can seamlessly move from complaining about the humidity to complaining about the rain. Personally, I just don’t get that.
Rain can be a very strong meditative tool. It provides stimulation to all five senses, and each one is beneficial to a different kind of thinker. I don’t claim to know much about the actual science of meditation, but I’m feeling very contemplative today, so I’ll take a crack at it.
Rain can work as a direct and indirect visual stimulus. Simply sitting outside (or inside at a window) and watching the rain can pull you away from racing thoughts. Raindrops are consistent to some extent, and that steady rush past your eyes can be mesmerizing. Indirectly, there is a reason rain is a frequent character in books and poetry. It is symbolic of cleansing and purification because it literally washes things away. For those who get stressed, this can be a very useful tool indeed. I often teach people about writing down their stressors and then destroying the paper on which they are written, but if it is raining, there is a whole new venue to explore. Taking eyeliner or something else meant for writing on skin, you can write troubles on the palm of your hand. Then, simply let it run away in the rain. It sounds silly written out, but honestly, the physical action of “washing it away” in the rain often helps people to overcome their smaller struggles. The visual aid is much more concrete than simply saying “let it go.”
As an auditory tool, rain is once again a great meditative aid. There’s a reason people listen to rain noises to fall asleep. It is a simply white noise that stimulates the mind with a rhythmic pattern. Listening to the rain is a simple way to clear one’s mind. By focusing on that one steady sound, it becomes difficult to maintain another, stressful stream of consciousness. The smell of rain is also a very relaxing one. It is not strong enough to overwhelm a person, but its simple and clean aroma can be very beneficial. If it is a sent marketing in cleaning and home freshening supplies, it must be good, right? The only problem is that those things rarely smell anything remotely like the rain. I’ll stick to the real thing. I can’t say that I can think of a specific way in which the taste of rain soothes frustrations, but I suppose since taste and smell are so closely affiliated it can work. (Feel free to comment if you have a better idea.)
My personal favorite sense associated with rain is that of tactile. Feeling cool rain soaking you through is amazing, even if it only lasts until you go back inside and are shivering like a small dog. When we were kids, we loved the rain. We ran outside and danced in it, played in it and just generally enjoyed the feeling of it. My question is simple: why did we stop? Why do I feel like I am one of the only people who will still go outside and dance in the rain? I shouldn’t be. It is fun and exhilarating. In fact, if the idea doesn’t appeal to you, you probably need to experience it all the more. Feeling the rain is a liberating experience and can do wonders, even if the wonder is just making you smile.
Rain isn’t always convenient. It may be good luck for a marriage, but it’s not a super thing to have on your wedding day. It may be beautiful to watch and experience, but not so great when it gets inside of houses and cars. I know my area has a forecast full of rain for this next week, and I intend to enjoy it fully. If you’re expecting rain, I hope you can do the same.