You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘practice’ tag.

Inhale/exhale: for most of us, breathing is an unconscious process but vital for living. For those with pulmonary issues, though, breathing becomes conscious and maintains intimate contact with reality. Accustomed defense mechanisms cease; in their absence, emotional honesty deepens, and the search for the meaningful increases.

Such has been my experience. My daily dependence upon medicines dispensed through a nebulizer, morning and evening, continue treating my hardening air sacs and teaching me, as well, through listening to the world around me.

This morning, a dear friend shared a significant quote from the fifteenth-century Indian poet and mystic Kabr:  

What is God? the student asked? He is the breath inside the breath.

I was already familiar with the Hebrew word, ruah, signifying God’s breath and or spirit, used in the two Genesis stories and in Pentecost’s gift of tongues, found in the Acts of the Apostles. Decades of meditations on this concept seemed to postulate a God, outside of me who somehow cared and protected me for long years. But Kabr’s experience of God as Breath has revolutionized my sense of Him, and the use of the nebulizer.

Ordinarily an exhausting and boring treatment requiring a minimum of seventy inhalations, each one now begins with awareness of emptied lungs, slowly filling them until unable to take another breath, but taking another, sometimes two, that touches my Essence—admittedly, a different way to meditate but it works.

I suspect this practice of Kabir’s understanding must alleviate the sting of physical death. There’s no record of his own.

As I recall the Genesis story of Cain and Abel (4: 1–16), I’m not as shocked by our distraught world, shimmering with incurable disease, violence, and corruption. From its very beginnings, evil has seeded our world with the Seven Deadly Sins: anger, pride, lust, greed, sloth, gluttony, and envy. I know, because I have all of them, as does everyone else.

When failed instincts succumb to temptation to have more, to be more, or to leave a trail of monuments in their honor, violence inevitably ensues, whether around the kitchen table or the conference table.

Examples of evil in my lifetime are rife: World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. The Killing Fields in Cambodia, Stalin’s Gulag Archipelago, Castro’s Cuba, and the corruption of Central American governments—all buzzed on the AP, but only handing out piecemeal information. The 1960s assassinations of President Kennedy, his brother Robert, and Dr. Martin Luther King revealed the agendas of the underworld.

Lynchings and other nasty racist practices also killed bodies and spirits. Our legislators declared war on unborn babies. Clergy sexually abused altar boys, leaving irreparable psycho-social harm. The proliferation of drugs contributing to the watered-down ethos in global societies still smells to high heaven. And the hype of the sports and entertainment worlds distract from significant life values.

But as with the plight of Cain after he murdered his brother, we are not left without resources to thrive in the midst of this madness. Those practicing faith in God are marked and will find their way, even to their deaths.

The Twelve Steps help scrutinize my behavior.

Microwaves hum. Planes and cars hum. Generators hum—humming fills worlds of science, electronics, entertainment, and finance, often wall-papering the background of whatever draws our attention. Rare is silence sought after.

Yet, humming is integral to our humanness and still appears within classical music, jazz, and R&B. Their listeners, in search of distraction from spine-binding tensions, flock to venues hosting such events and pay handsomely. I was among them.

Somewhere within my long labyrinthine life, I stopped humming—Too many rules and regulations of adulthood had squelched its practice and cramped my imagination. True, classical music did quiet much of the turmoil, but as ovations of audiences subsided, hollow voices returned, until the next concert, with its reprieve. I’d also considered eastern chants, but never practiced them—too taxing upon my breathing. 

However, an overview of The Humming Effect – Sound Healing for Health and Happiness (2017) by Jonathan Goldman and Andi Goldman produces valuable suggestions for a more responsive care of our body-mind-spirit. Their experience convinced them that few realize the healing properties of humming: Engaged in consciously, their fruit is exponential: physically, humming raises oxygen in the cells, lymphatic assimilation, and levels of melatonin; it lowers stress and blood pressure and heart rates. 

Spiritually, humming interfaces with the Sacred in our depths and provides support and direction in the midst of trekking the impossible. It keeps in mind our immortal destiny and who we really are. Such was the experience of death camp survivors in the last century.

Mentally and emotionally, humming empowers us to alter attitudes and moods and concentrate on the present experience, with its new learning. Humming is also fun. 

And in my present circumstance, I‘ve still much to learn in the ensuing silence…

Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: