This summer I had a dream, a dream of gifts given from my spiritual teacher, Mary-Anne. In the dream, I and my colleague are seeking a spiritual gift, more research for our work in the world, a sign that will help us in our service. I walk into a brightly lit room where my teacher is sitting quietly with others who are asleep. I ask her for a gift- what am I to offer in the world? She suddenly awakens and says: “Why don’t you offer classes on breath!” Suddenly everyone in the room is awakened, lucid and clear. I walk into other dusty rooms where there are relics and other treasures attracting my attention.
The breath is a hidden treasure and yet for many of us, it is hidden away in the dusty old rooms of habit and lack of awareness. When we pay attention to the breath we are aware of our state of mind, and the connection between the mind and body. We learn that when we slow the breath it calms our mind/body, connecting us to that still place within.
The breath goes with us where ever we are, and is always available. By learning to bring our attention to it, we are practicing a form of worship, the worship of our lives and life itself. It is like 2 lovers, each one moving to their own rhythm and dance, and when they move harmoniously, balanced and even, it is a love affair. The in-breath is a choice of what we want to take in. When we are conscious we can choose to inhale awareness, clarity, peace, harmony, anything that lifts our spirits. When we exhale we are letting go, releasing what no longer serves us, something old and maybe stale. When these two move together balanced as one, there is both a tension and relaxation that can accompany this expansion and contraction. We suddenly feel whole and connected to a vast expanse beyond our limited beliefs and concepts that keep us locked inside.
The result is a deep awareness of peace, calm, and the warm sensation of our being alive. When we are connected to this vast and infinite space suddenly anything seems possible. We give ourselves the space to hear what lies deep within us, allowing for the pearls of wisdom to rise up to the surface of your awareness. We then learn to listen more closely to our loved ones, colleagues, students, friends, etc. giving them the space to hear what is really being said. This is the shift our world is needing now, the space to really hear what is happening within and without to make sense of it so we can make the changes we are being asked to make.
Give yourself the space of breath!
Practice: start by taking a few moments to become aware of how you are breathing. Sit with the breath in this way for a few moments. Then begin to consciously length the inhalation and exhalation to a rhythm counting to four. Always breathe through the nose unless it is plugged. By lengthening the breath in this way you begin to control the autonomic nervous system, calming its response to the inner and outer world. Suddenly the mind is still like glass or a mirror which reflects only the light of the sun or your wise inner teacher. When you learn to trust this inner knowing you will always have an inner guide to your life!