The day had been a strange one. Everything about the day’s situations, conversations, and choices was unusual. What I consider normal was nowhere to be found. By the time I got back to the hotel, I was ready for a retreat to the sauna. At least there, everything was predictable. I was expecting quiet, solitude, heat, and time to reflect.
The one element that went to plan was the heat. It was strong, intense, present, and predictably wonderful.
Everything else was different. It wasn’t quiet; others were present. Whatever I expected my reflection to be, it was something else. As I look back, Life had decided that I needed something more. Given that I was coming in with a open spirit, Life answered without waiting to be asked.
The first man, older and a veteran, was splashing some water on the rocks. As I entered, he turned and asked if I was ok. Surprising courtesy. After a few moments, I asked if it was ok to put water on the walls. With his nod, I started splashing water everywhere. As the humidity increased, I heard his response.
“Ah, that’s nice. I wondered what you were doing. It is wonderful.”
Within minutes, a second man arrived and quietly assumed a meditation posture in the corner. I could see and feel the stillness and quietness coming into the sauna. It was an invitation to follow, so I let myself go into the Presence. After a time, he shifted to the now vacant spot left by the first man. I poured more water on the walls and intensity consumed everyone.
“Do you mind if I chant for three minutes?”
The deep baritone sound of “om” resonated and permeated every fiber of my being. God’s Presence dominated everything.
I had no idea this was what was waiting for me. When the room was empty, I found myself echoing old words; “What a stack of blessing you have piled up for those who worship you, Ready and waiting for all who run to you to escape an unkind world.” (Psalm 31.19)