To a lot of people, this is probably the most memorable scene at the vigil station.

The outline of the figure belongs to Yudong Gao. Yudong had just taken over the shift from her husband Bin Chen that day. Before leaving, Bin took out his cellphone and recorded his wife meditating in the rain.

London is known for its rain. Yudong said she didn’t mind the coldness. It’s days of nonstop raining that really tested her willpower. The rain made everything wet, including raincoats and jackets left at the vigil station, which sometimes took a week to dry.

Everyone who meditates at the vigil station feels differently about the rain. Yong Li had been through many brutal ordeals in the labor camp. The rain didn’t bother him at all. He insisted on meditating even when it was raining. To those more accustomed to the western way of life, they would feel more comfortable hiding underneath eaves or in their car when it rained.

Yudong rather enjoyed meditating in the rain: “Some people enjoy taking a walk in the rain. They think it’s romantic. When I meditate in the rain, actually I feel a sense of transcendence that cultivators feel. ”

Xiao Qian told me an interesting story: Once during a snowstorm, transit services had been suspended. No one could come to the vigil station to take over Gao (Yudong)’s shift. So she ended up spending three days and nights on the street across from the Chinese embassy. The fourth morning, she had to go to work. Before going to work, she asked to borrow the washroom at the Royal Architects’ Association right behind her. She washed her hair there and went directly to work. When her co-workers saw her, they were all amazed and asked her: “Yudong, did you just come back from a vacation? Your face is positively glowing!”

(This blog post is about the film Candlelight Across the Street. Click to watch the full film!)

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