Recently I’ve changed my breathing practice.
For years it’s been my practice to take deep cleansing breaths.
When in fear, unrest, stress, or even just to relax, to bring on sleep. I used to breathe in God- and exhale fear. Breathe in God, exhale stress. Just get it out of me. BIG breathes of Peace, Light- and cleanse all the guck, rot, yuck with it – and then let it out of my body. Breathe in Good- breath out Bad......imagine everything leaving my body....ahhhh...
Recently a teacher challenged me to change my breathing: to do the exact opposite. To breathe in the fear, unrest, stress....and breathe out God. And then, not only breathe in my fear, but other people’s fear, expanding out to include all people who fear.
I was surprised how much I fought it. It felt so wrong, like I was going to make myself sick or something. Like the whole purpose of deep breathing was to get the Good in—and get whatever I didn’t want OUT. It felt very counterintuitive. I fought and fought it with my mind. That’s crazy. However, trusting the teacher, trusting the process I changed my practice.
In the process something amazing happened, something truly miraculous. I realized that I’ve underestimated myself. I underestimated our power as beings. We CAN breathe in our suffering, other people’s suffering, pain, stress, hardship, because that’s what we breathe in anyhow. We can’t breathe in God, because we ARE God. It isn’t outside of us. It can only come from within.
The other amazing thing I learned was that the light that is deep inside us, our true selves, our God self is capable of transforming the most acute hardship into beauty and hope. And upon exhalation even the darkest evil can be converted it into lightness and peace. We can take it in, transform it, and then send it out to those still in distress.
I am powerful enough to breath in my own suffering, other peoples suffering- let it enter me- transform it through my being and let it come out on the other side as beauty, light, as hope. Like the metaphor of being in a pub filled with cigarette smoke- and you sit in the corner- slowly breathing in the all the smoke and dirty air- and what comes out of your body is clean beautiful fresh air. At first I though- what about the smoke? We are so trained to think we can’t handle it. Don’t we need to get that out of our bodies, not breathe it in? Another thought I had was, that’s not my job, every one else needs to just quit smoking. But then, alas, that is another puzzle. So out of extreme gratitude for understanding the piece (peace) I do, I inhale.
As I pull a lungful of restlessness and uncertainty deep into my core, I am struck with awe. I realize immediately, we’ve forgotten how dynamic we really are, how we were perfectly made for this type of work, the intricate design, the key the fits within the lock. The key slides in as we open our lips, turns on the inbreathe, and a door opens as the air settles into our lungs. As we exhale, out of that once hidden room, explodes our holiness, perfection, Light spills out for all to see, experience, to be transformed by. We are God. We are so powerful.
We CAN take it in, any of it, and by the exact nature of our own perfection, breathe it out clear, clean, sparkling, perfect and sacred.
In the process I also learned more about what we breathe in. When I stopped breathing solely for myself, my problems became much less exclusive. I often fall victim to a struggles of a rare variety, struggles of distinctive nature that others certainly have never experienced. I have matchless and uncommon sufferings. Then as I breathe in, I see, my troubles are everyone else’s troubles too. Whatever I’ve concocted to make myself feel alone, separate, misunderstood. I make myself terminally unique. Then I realize how to sort out my unique spirit from my very common earthly dilemmas. I think of myself and breathe in my pain and add to that breathe the pain of all the others experiencing the same discomfort. As unique as I am, the problems are not unique, and whatever is causing discomfort, someone, somewhere on this planet has experienced it too. In fact, someone, somewhere is probably experiencing the exact same situation right now. I am not alone. We are all one. I breathe the Unity in. For them, for me, for Us, together- as the air mixes together, Oneness appears again. I am God- I exchange each molecule, charging each ion, particle for particle it leaves my body magnificent and holy, for me and for them. Now that I know, I can do this, for me, for others, until we all awaken and realize how powerful we are, until we all realize we ARE the embodiment of God.