We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Breathing In - Breathing Out

In meditation, the meditator's breath is her guide and anchor.  Breathing in, he is aware that he is breathing in — breathing out, she knows that she is breathing out.  Breathing is the most fundamental, necessary fact of life.  Nothing is simpler nor more necessary.  To breathe is to live.  Outside of the practice of meditation, however, we seldom think about our breathing unless it is threatened or even momentarily interrupted.  When we can't get our breath, suddenly and anxiously we are aware of just how important it is to breathe.  Otherwise, we seldom pay attention to it.

Meditation encourages us to be awake to our breathing—to see it as the core of all of our spiritual technologies and the simplest to practice.  It can be done anywhere.  All it requires is breathing and knowing we are breathing.

And one thing that we might discover in our meditation is that breathing in (Lord, I know I am breathing in) is not like breathing out (Lord, I know I am breathing out).  Regarded mindfully and gently, breathing in gathers energy and breathing out expels anxiety.  Together they are a dualism, the dualism that circumscribes our lives.  They are much more than a physiological mechanism for delivering oxygen to our body.  They define the flow and ebb of life.  Lord, we breathe in our suffering, Lord, we breathe out our healing.  Lord, we breathe in tension, Lord, we breathe out relaxation.  Lord, we breathe in experience, Lord, we breathe out learning.   Yin and yang.  God's gift of the Spirit created in us at the very core of what it means to live.  Lord, we breathe compassion in, Lord, we breathe ministry out.  Amen.