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Posts tagged ‘breathing’

Neuroscience chat with Urvashi Hawkes

We invoked you (Urvashi – PhD candidate in neuroscience and Certified Teacher of Dancemeditation)   yesterday morning at the Advanced Group here in NYC.  I need to describe what we were doing.
We were using the inward Shafi. (Arabic: to Heal, to Cure)

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Breaths as Jewels

During the recent NYC Intensive, I wrote:
I entered the Black Velvet Inner-ness where breaths float as jewels.
Breath is the activator and lens of subtlety. In the realm of subtlety we can dissolve into that which is most infinite and most intimate. For Sufis, the court of love is found inside the subtlety inside the breath. Read more

Dust and Light

I lie in bed after reading Mary Oliver‘s Winter Hours, close my eyes, let what I’ve read — and how that reading has woken life and feeling and sensation and contemplation — stir around me, settling the way dust blown up by passing footsteps re-settles in a spot beside where it had been.

I lie in the morning gloaming. The City traffic noises, well underway, elbow through the open windows past early day breezes, to dance at the edges of my awareness. I lie on my side. My top arm slops down onto the bottom one. The top edge of my pelvis tips toward my head, swaying gently with my breathing. I think a little. I feel some emotion, some awe, some full-heartedness at Oliver’s words, which are already fading, my memory lets them slip onto the floor, like dropping a silk scarf, its fading trace remembered in skin.

I breathe. Full. And think of an oblong patch of sun stretching cat-like across one end of my kitchen table. In the winter, the shadow reclines undisturbed, or until clouds come along, or until it is time for midday to pick the shape up like a book, and move it to some other table in some other apartment. By spring, the light shudders as opening leaves of the tree outside push their shadows into its geometry.

For 20 years, a dancer lived in the apartment across the street, across the 4-story ravine. I saw her dancing behind her window frames late in the afternoon until she drew her curtains and blasted the wall with a rectangle of yellow light. In April, she put pots of flowers out on the fire escape, then stuck her head out several days a week until October to water them. She lived 30 feet away but I never met her. Then she left. The new tenants are rarely there; the window wears a manicured blind that is mostly closed, mostly dark. So there it is, slabs of light, appearing and disappearing without cutting a groove, tell me about the day, the neighbors.

Ric arrives home late in the evening after his full day. We have our decompression chat, his day, my day. We have our dinner ritual and our side-by-side movie watching ritual. We have our climbing into bed, and the moment of toes; he is already asleep as I reach my toes to lightly touch his foot or lower leg. And here’s the test for me, in the midst of his heavy slumber breath, he reaches back. He might even be snoring, yet his foot reaches back to mine. Our side-by-side, much of it wordless and repetitive, is a sure sun patch in my life. A miracle of us lying, light as light, across one another’s beings.


Taking Retreat Home

I’ve been feeling the spaciousness of retreat inside me since getting home from Movement Monastery. If I keep the practice going, not in an overwhelming way, but in a moderate, easy way, I keep panic at bay. That big wave of never enough time or money or recognition or whatever is bugging me at the moment doesn’t build up and crash on my head.

In the past I have liked setting aside time to practice in a sanctuary environment. It’s more solitary than at retreat, but I can replicate most of the circumstances (music, privacy, resting.) Recently I am enjoying practice ˜in the marketplace”. Simple and unobtrusive practices — breathing with awareness of different aspects of posture or motion is a good one — integrate well into workplace mechanics. The computer becomes a place of daily practice, and walking to the subway, shopping in Whole Foods, or sitting at a social dinner. I may have honed the skill in a vaulted room, bamboo swaying out the window as classical Persian music played, but awareness on breathing and embodiment fit in any room anywhere.