Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky.
Conscious breathing is my anchor.
-Thich Nhat Hanh
Welcome to the Reflection for January!
As I sit down to write this Reflection, the sun is beginning to set and the sky outside my window is turning the most beautiful shades of pink and purplish-blue. The sky has changed often today, it began with clouds which later dispersed to reveal a brilliant blue expanse. Now dusk is falling and the sky is changing once again. This makes me reflect upon Thich Nhat Hanh’s words, in the quote above. It is true that our emotions can change many times in a day, just like clouds in the sky. During these times that we are living in, I too, have found myself needing to become anchored by my breath.
In my training in the energy modality, Polarity Therapy, we learned that the element of Air is associated with the heart centre. An interesting thing about the element of Air is that it helps all of the other elements to move as well. Air moves earth, air moves the water and air feeds fire.
The breath is often viewed as the tether that connects us to the Divine, and as the Sufi mystic, Rumi once shared about his connection to the Sacred, “You are closer to me than my own breath.” As I reflect on this, it connects me once again to the importance of tending to the air that is breathing us. In Hebrew, the word for Spirit is ruach, which means the breath of God, the breath that fills us with life. This breath of the Spirit is the animating force of our life and when we get stressed, we often tighten around the heart centre and our breath becomes contracted and shallow. We may even hold our breath for many seconds at a time. When we do this we pull away from the animating force of life and our sense of vitality and well-being is impacted.
These days, as we continue to navigate life with Covid19 and the constant changes it creates in our lives, we can literally need more space to breathe collectively and individually. Tending to our breath can help us navigate the changing mood of the sky, if you will. It supports our ability to move, in a grounded way, with the changing currents of our times.
As I have been pondering the importance of breathing space these days, it seems that it is no wonder that pretty much every tradition offers breath prayers and meditations to support our aliveness. One breath practice I love comes from the Sufi tradition. It is called Elemental Breathing and it is intended to help move the disturbances of our thoughts and feelings, like the air moves the clouds in the sky, leaving us feeling cleansed and restored within our being.
As we begin this new year, I share with you this breath meditation, may it support you in staying grounded, enlivened, and filled with inner spaciousness and peace.
With spacious blessings,
The soul lives there in the silent breath.
The audio file below offers a breath meditation called Elemental Breathing. The meditation is followed by a handout with some questions that are intended to help you journal your own thoughts and experiences with this breath meditation. Please print these out before you listen to the audio file.
You are invited to create a comfortable space for yourself, perhaps light a candle and wrap a shawl around you as you take about 20 minutes to listen to the reflection and then answer the questions. May this be a nourishing and replenishing time of some soul tending.
Please click on the button below to download the reflection questions that go along with this meditation.
Written Copy of the Meditation
You may like to have a written copy of this meditation in order to do it on your own, so it is provided here for you. Click on the button below to download it.
A Song to Close your Reflection
You are invited to close your time of reflection by listening to this song, Deep Peace by Sara Thomsen. The lyrics come from a Traditional Gaelic blessing. As you listen, may you breathe deeply and allow the blessing of peace to wash over you.
Spirit Garden Moments
Spirit Garden Moments offer a short pause in your day and an opportunity for reflection. Check back soon for the next Spirit Garden Moment.
As this year unfolds, may we each find our ways of offering our peace-filled blessings to our hurting world. May we enliven our spirit and anchor ourselves with the conscious use of our breath. And may beauty-filled moments replenish our hearts and sense of well-being.
Connect & Share
Please share any comments about this Reflection in the comments below. Make sure to check out what others are posting and encourage each other!