Tuesday, August 27, 2019

THE SHAPE OF BREATH – Finding Form In the Abstract

I used to think of my breathing, if I was even aware of it, as a simple, one-dimensional, in-and-out exercise. Inhale…stop. Exhale…stop. And so on.

That is, until I started meditating. In meditation, relaxing completely and centering one’s presence are all about breathing. I picture each inhalation filling me, body and soul, with light, with the good, positive, healing energy of a beneficent cosmos; each exhalation, ridding me of darkness and any negative vibe.

As I visualized my breathing, I realized I was seeing my lungs as a pump. And instead of the back-and-forth cycle of those hand-held bicycle pumps we used as kids, it’s an elliptical one oriented at right angles to the plane of my chest. Half of it is actually outside my body; the other half, inside.

The in-breaths rise up and toward me, releasing their fresh, healthful air at the top of their arc; the out-breaths recede from my face and then fall away, releasing their tainted air at the bottom.

The key difference is that the motion of my virtual pump never stops, nor starts. Like a ski lift chair, the baffle swings seamlessly around a hub at each end of its cycle, in continuous motion.

  Like one big, blurry Möbius strip, consciousness
  moves from one reality to its flip side without ever
  crossing an edge.

So what actions or thoughts in your life have shapes? Are there times when your reasoning, instead of the back-and-forth, either-or kind, becomes more circular? Are key decisions or changes kind of like old RFD routes, meeting at crossroads with stop signs? Or are they more fluid, with paths merging like they do at freeway on- and off-ramps or rotaries?

How about your spirit? If you could step back and see its expression as your higher power might, would that have shape? Are your spiritual thoughts simply linear, intellectual tellings? Or might they, by entertaining more askings, spread into forms with width and breadth?

The world’s religions celebrate many shapes: the circle, revered by many faiths, including Paganism; the triangle of the Celtic or Christian trinity; the yin-yang form in Chinese mythology. Are these just symbols like so many corporate logos? Or do they have something to do with how those beliefs actually work?

I believe in the interconnectedness of all things. What I do here and now affects everything, everyone, everywhere, for all time…and vice versa. And this belief can take on many profiles.

Depending on my state of mind—and sometimes on the number of tequilas I’ve imbibed—it might be a massive, shape-shifting amoeba-like blob; or a shape of shapes, perhaps overlapping like those on a schematic diagram to create new shapes; or one where the spaces between the shapes take on shapes of their own. It could even be like one big Möbius strip, with consciousness able to move from one reality to its flip side without ever crossing an edge.

Have I overwhelmed you with abstraction? Sorry, I guess it’s just the way this curious, helplessly creative mind works. In the end, it probably doesn’t matter in the least what shapes your breaths or thoughts take on. Though for me imagining those forms helps me appreciate concepts that would otherwise be just elusive, blurry abstractions.

What’s important is that we are at least open to seeing our consciousness, our beliefs, in fresh, new ways where each encounter we have with them is a breath of fresh air.


jean said...

What a cool post! My mind also tends to create images for everything and there are times when nobody can figure out what I am talking about. Bet you have the same experience, don't you, Jeff? :) That is where art and poetry come in, at least for me!

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