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The late after thunderstorm that brought monsoon-level rain and added humidity to the heat was finally tapering off as I got ready to wind up the work day. I figured I would at perhaps only drive through the parkway on my home, as the trails would be really wet, and the clouds were still lingering.

At the bottom of the hill where the East and west branches of the river merge, sitting at the stop sign, deciding to turn left or right, I hear the invitation of the roar of the river. My resistance to walking melts away as quickly as fresh rain tends to cleanse the landscape. I reason that I am already present, in the middle of it all, so why would a threat of rain or some wet trails stop me from a journey that I know is going to hold some wonderful gifts?

A few minutes later, with the car parked in an almost empty lot which would typically be filled at this hour, I am crossing one of the bridges across the merged branches whose flow has been fueled by the hour of heavy rain. On the other side, in its widening and bending and slowing down as it heads towards Lake Erie, I am suddenly in the presence of bunches of sunflowers on its shores.

Presence can create a beautiful energy about it, if our attitude towards being present is open and joyful. The trails that run around the merging of the river’s branches have been my playground for years, and their presence has lifted me and my heart on every single occasion that I visit with them. I can’t ever remember walking away from the river’s spaces with a lighter heart than that which I entered them with. Today was no different.

Yes, I stayed on the main, wide trails and walked even more slowly than usual. The evening sun was starting to now peak out, and the backlighting show among the trees was getting started. There was not a single other person on the trail, and it felt like all the energy of the day’s transitioning was being bestowed upon me. On my way back, I slowed down even more to let the leaves from the forest canopy sprinkle me with the water that they were holding from the rain. I felt even more present. During one long pause, the sun filtered through the trees and lit up the forest floor and the entire expanse of leaves in a bright yellow. It was like getting a sneak preview of autumn. I am now in a different space altogether. And yet, how does this all come together.

Let me retrace the steps. In accepting the invitation to be present to the journey and the spaces, one opens the doorway to the energy of presence. The energy works by first cleansing our thoughts, which helps to relax us and be receptive. We then slow down enough so we can absorb new energy, and finally walk away with a heart-state that sustains until we accept the next invitation to be present. Sounds a bit like your meditation practice, does it?

I use Nature to describe a medium through which the energy of presence creates gifts for us. I am sure you can think of many moments or spaces or people or activities that create similar gifts for you. May we often accept their invitation to be present, for they are perhaps as much seeking the energy of your gifts as you are seeking theirs?

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering and twitter chat with the #SpiritChat community, Sunday Aug 7 at 9amET / 630pm India. I will be present with questions and gifts of tea and cookies. What gifts will you bring?! – AjmaniK

Sunflowers share their energy after a thunderstorm…