Make It Rain

Pura Besakih, the highest temple on Gunung Agung

Pura Besakih, the highest temple on Gunung Agung

Terry was a crazy expat dive master living in Bali. He’d been a deep water welder, a surfer, a fugitive from what most people recognize as civilization. He was an old soul, one of the few people I’ve met who was completely comfortable anywhere in the world. He was always a local.

When I signed up to learn to dive I had no idea that 1) I’d be the only person in the class, and 2) that my dive lessons would, in fact, be some of the most profound life lessons I’d ever receive. By the time I left Bali, Terry and I did a dozen dives including a magical drift dive (the closest thing to flying I’ve ever known), a night dive, cliff dives, and a wreck dive. Once, driving to a dive site on the other side of the island, Terry pulled off the road so a tiny elderly Balinese woman could bless us. He called it “dive insurance.”

Although I never saw it, I heard about the Buddha statue that sat in the corner of his small upstairs apartment. Terry threw money at the statue. Every time he was paid he took a portion of the money and tossed it at the statue. When there was too much money accumulated around the statue, he’d open his window and throw it out to the people working in the shops below. He called it the “agung rain.”

Gunung Agung is the central mountain in Bali. It is an active volcano. All of the altars and houses (and lives) are oriented toward the mountain. To the Balinese, it represents the central axis of the universe. When Terry opened his window, which he often did, and made it rain money, he was orienting his life to abundance. He was saying to himself and to others, there is so much, more than enough, for everyone. He was demonstrating that the universe in which he lived was infinite with resource.

He told me of the agung rain one day as we bobbed in a boat between dives. Even though I did not yet know, I am certain that he knew I was on the island to learn a new way of living. The old way wasn’t working for me. “The thing that people miss,” he said, “is to not hold on to stuff. People think the measure of their lives is by the chunk of stuff that they hold.” He smiled and added, “Life has open hands. You can’t really know how to live until you can make it rain.”

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