I have picked up a Finnish habit when I travel. At the end of my workday, if at all possible in the schedule that follows, I have a sauna session. In Chennai, this means a thirty-minute session at 70 degrees centigrade (160F). While the sauna is large, new, and in excellent shape, I almost always have it to myself.
For me, the two-hour-glass-turn session is an escape and recovery period. The room is silently intense. The only sound is my thoughts. Occasionally I read, but most of the time I quietly let Life restore my values and priorities. If I had to describe what happens during this time I would use David words; “True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.” (Psalm 23.3)
I know that saunas are not for everyone. I have come to appreciate that disconnecting from cell phones, emails, and information overload is a good step. When it is combined with reconnecting with the Spirit of Compassion and Love, a process of healing begins. For me, the heat helps. It forces me to let go of what I otherwise want to hold onto. It demands that I slow down, stop. In the end, it overwhelms me.
I have seen others take this step in different ways. For some, the answer lies in reading sacred scripture. For others, it is found in meditation and prayer chants. There are many that find it in the quiet reflection of a sunrise or sunset. Whatever the means, there is a experience Life offers to give each as often as we are willing to pause.
In my experience, Life does not discriminate. Everyone is invited. Nobody is refused. Whatever state we come in, we will leave better for what occurs.
I emerged last night with a full heart. I was at peace with God. I was overwhelmed by the awareness of what I could do. There is much that needs to be done. In pausing, Life gives me the hope that makes it possible. Time to make it real.