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Thursday, January 23, 2014

you are powerful in your breath




"Be like a bear in the forest of yourself.
Even sleeping you are powerful in your breath."



- Susan Griffin, from her poem "Great as You Are"





This is the part of the week where the posts become random - sandwiches, lunches, are mixed with unconnected ramblings.....

It's been a busy week, and our daughter is writing her mid and end term exams for high school. The daily rituals and rhythms are a bit off. The lists are getting written and re-written. That feeling I've forgotten to do something lingers.

However, we still have to eat. I think a lot about lunch, probably too much. But it's the meal where I eat what I want and don't have to wonder so much what everyone else would enjoy. For example, this chickpea salad sandwich {recipe from here}. Not something Rob or Chloe would care for.

My noodle obsession continues.




Meanwhile.

I want to share something that I keep coming back to which is a passage in Pema Chodron's The Wisdom of No Escape about breathing. There is a meditation / breathing practice that I have sometimes done where, on your in-breath, you breathe in light. And then on your out-breath, you breathe out the darkness, the blackness that you might be harbouring. I've found this to be a very useful practice.

But the practice that Chodron describes is different.

"...on the in-breath you are willing to feel pain; you're willing to acknowledge the suffering of the world. From this day onward, you're going to cultivate your bravery and willingness to feel that part of the human condition. You breathe in so that you can really understand what the Buddha meant when he said that the first noble truth is that life is suffering. What does that mean? With every in-breath, you try to find out by acknowledging the truth of suffering, not as a mistake you made, not as a punishment, but as part of the human condition."

Wow.

And the out-breath?

"With every out-breath, you open. You connect with the feeling of joy, well-being, satisfaction, tenderheartedness, anything that feels fresh and clean, wholesome and good."

The out-breath is "the part you like. You connect with that and you breathe it out so that is spreads and can be experienced by everyone."


So you can see how these two practices are incredibly different. And how difficult yet transformative it could be to take in the suffering of the world, and then to give so much in your out breath. To breath out the light, your tenderheartedness, rather than to draw it inward. How radical this is, really.

I don't practice yoga, and my meditation practice has more to do with writing poetry and reading poetry, than anything else. But I've always found it useful to set aside a little time everyday and breathe in this way.



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