We’re having a bit of a heat wave here in Los Angeles. Normally the temperature is nice, even and warm, but the last few days have brought heat advisories and warnings. Temperatures are close to 100 degrees and the humidity is much higher than usual for our desert city.
I bring this up because I feel a spiritual exercise can be found among this heat. Many culture have practices of sweat lodges or saunas of some sort that cleanse the body and purify the spirit. Sweat is an essential component of this. Sweat releases salts and oils, forces you to drink more water and really dials you in to your physical experience.
It’s uncomfortable for most of us. But it’s the kind of uncomfortable that also creates a deep relaxation, much like a profound stretch or workout. The heart races, thundering throughout the body, pulsating within the skin. Drops form and run down your flesh, cleansing as they move. Critical thought is hard. The sheer amount of sensation creates awareness. You may feel parts of yourself relax you didn’t even know were tight.
And that’s only the beginning. Deep trance is possible. I would advise against doing this alone, as it become hard to tell when you are in true heat danger. But among friends or helpers the body can rest, sweat, and heal while the spirit soars.
Heat is a very tangible form of energy. Surrounding yourself in heat bathes you in energy that is extremely physical. Today, even stepping outside is like opening an oven door. You can fight it, becoming miserable and annoyed, or you can embrace the discomfort and simply sweat.
That choice is always yours.