STRENGTH IN SIMPLICITY
In recent days, living a pared down life, I have seen the strength in simplicity. Both my contemplation and my inquiry are reflecting this. I have a few simple practices adapted from a variety of sources. At first under the pressure of illness, I have moved away from the kind of system building that was drawing my attention a month ago (1). Now I have reminded myself that customising, using a light touch, and keeping practice relatively simple has been my generally preferred way of responding to influences. It helps me to avoid half-awarely ventriloquising teachers and to maintain my own discernment.
As an example (2), I describe a simple meditation. It focuses on the breath because that is something I am busy with – and ambivalent about thanks to my COPD. In it I draw on the understanding that breath and spirit share the same word in some languages (e.g pneuma in Greek). No more than ten minutes is needed for a session.
Although simple, the practice does have a liturgical framing – for instance adapting one of Stewart’s Qabalistic crossing forms from The Miracle Tree. I also draw on my OBOD background, especially the commitment to finding peace. This kind of framing helps. In formal practices like this, I am not just plunging into raw experience. I have other opportunities for that. Rather, the practice affirms an already existing perspective, developed over time, and this is what the words proclaim.
(2) See text below:
Crossing, using my right hand, I say: In the name of Wisdom (forehead), Love (pubic bone), Justice (right shoulder), Mercy (left shoulder), and the Living Breath (both hands over upper chest). I enter stillness. Then I say: Deep within my innermost being, I find peace. Silently, within the stillness of this space, I cultivate peace. Heartfully, within the wider web of life, may I radiate peace.
I do a breath exercise*, and then say: I am a movement of the breath and stillness in the breath; living presence in a field of living presence: here, now, and home.
Then, I begin slow, deep breathing, as if inviting the Cosmos to breathe through me. I may use the I AM mantra. For me it affirms the non-separation of the finite life and the Source, and the gift of a place within the ecology of being.
On completion I repeat the Crossing and say: I give thanks for this meditation. May it nourish and illuminate my life. May there be peace throughout the world.
*11x breathe in through nose, counting to 8; hold, counting to 8; out through mouth, counting to 8, hold, counting to 8.
This is a beautiful meditation, James, and I hope it is bringing you comfort and peace as you adjust to your illness. As someone who has lived with a bronchiectasis for over 30 years, I completely empathise with the awareness of and gratitude for breath and the way in which mindful breathing practice brings relief and peace. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks Lis. I appreciate your comments and solidarity.