Shortly before I was scheduled to offer a program on “The Yoga of Dreams,” at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, I dreamed I saw dark stormy clouds nearly obscuring the retreat’s palm tree-dense property. This wasn’t terribly surprising, because I knew at the time that Hurricane Matthew was moving toward the Bahamas, where Sivananda is situated on Paradise Island, just a short boat ride from Nassau. Through the darkness in the dream, though, I also saw a double rainbow glowing from behind the clouds.
I saw the dream as a sign of hope that the ashram that I’d come to care deeply about after visiting twice over the past couple of years, would withstand the pounding winds and rain, despite the dire predictions of Matthew’s might.
As the days went by and news of the storm grew more and more ominous, I worried about the ashram and the people who live there, and the many visitors who come from around the world as well. I was concerned, too, about the Bahamian people who I’d met and who had been so friendly, warm, helpful and welcoming on my previous visits.
But that image of the double rainbow rising up over the ashram and glowing through the darkness kept my hope strong for Sivananda’s safety.
I continued to follow news of the hurricane closely, watching footage flattened trees and wind-torn roofs. I couldn’t fathom how Sivananda’s gardens, open air temple, yoga platforms, dining patio, and docks would look after such a storm.
But a day or two after Matthew moved past, I received an email saying that despite a great deal of damage to the trees, the property (even the simple huts and structures with corrugated roofs) had withstood the storm miraculously well.
When I arrived in the Bahamas Monday, I saw for myself some of the effects of the hurricane, now some 10 days after the storm. Trees were surely down, buildings were battered, and some people were only now getting their electricity and water back, while others were still without.
As soon as I stepped off the boat at the ashram’s dock, I could see that the winding paths were still littered with small branches, bits of broken coconut shells, scraps of tar paper and palm fronds. As I made my way through the property to my room, I noticed piles of brush alongside the paths that testified to the extent of the damage that had been incurred, and the industrious efforts of work crews who were cleaning and clearing at an impressive pace.
But the programs of meditation, yoga and study were back, and people were gathering at picnic tables to share meals and conversation. The joyful spirit of the place was still in tact.
When I met with the program director who to review the schedule for my week at Sivananda, I asked about her experience with the storm. She turned her computer monitor to face me so I could see a picture of the ashram on the day they evacuated before Matthew hit. I saw a beautiful picture of a rainbow stretching over the property under a still blue sky, just before the storm.
Despite the power and fury of the storm, during which they could not see how the ashram fared, that gift of color and light gave her hope.
I told her that I had had a dream right around that same time that she had seen the rainbow. In my dream a rainbow also rose above the ashram, but in my dream there were two rainbows, I said.
“Right here,” she said, tapping the computer screen. I’d missed the fainter second rainbow at first glance due to the angle of the monitor, but I saw it now: the double rainbow of my dream.
If it were your dream …
If this were your dream … what would you make of this story? Is it just a coincidence that I saw a double rainbow over the ashram at about the same time the rainbow appeared in waking life? Is there deeper meaning? Magic afoot? Leave a comment and tell me what your interpretation would be.