The Joy of Breathing
Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, sufi, or zen.
Not any religion or cultural system.
I am not from the East
or the West, not out of the ocean or up
from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all. I do not exist,
am not an entity in this world or in the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or any
origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.
I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
worlds as one and that one call to and know,
first, last, outer, inner, only that
breath breathing human being.
It’s no surprise that the foundation of our practice is the simple act of following the breath. Breath is life. The etymology of the word inspire comes from the Latin “inspirare” meaning to breathe or blow into. This etymology is also the same for the word spirit. To be a spirit means to breathe.
So in breathing, we have the processes of inspiration, expiration, and respiration-a microcosm of our lives. On the inbreath, we bring new life to this moment, oxygenating our cells, and birthing this moment. We become inspired, filled with life and its possibilities. On the outbreath, we let go -of the past, of wants and needs, of control. This expiration is a tiny death, a surrender. And then the cycle begins anew.
At times, I find myself focusing more on my inbreath than outbreath. I suspect it’s a natural mechanism of wanting to attend to an action that revitalizes the body. There’s a certain acquisitive aspect to it.
As counterbalance to this tendency, the writer Pema Chodron suggests watching the outbreath, “Touch the outbreath and let it go.”
I’m going to take her advice for this week’s focus on the breath. And for my 7 minutes a day in July practice. (Please join us in this community building exercise. It’s not too late to start!)
Please join us this week.
Monday 6:30 PM Ridgefield Library 472 Main Street Ridgefield
Monday 7:30 PM Sama Yoga 45 Grove Street, New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM Ferguson Library, 1 Public Library Plaza, Stamford (made possible by a grant from Bankwell)
Wednesday 12:00 PM New Canaan Library 151 Main Street, New Canaan. (The next few weeks at the Children’s Room due to flooding!)
Wednesday 7:30 pm Trumbull Recovery Group- Grace Episcopal 5958 Main St. Trumbull
CMP survives on donations. All of our weekly sessions are free and open to the public, but donations are essential to our sustainability. Checks, cash and credit cards are accepted and donations are tax deductible.
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May we all rest in a sense of abundance,
The CMP Team