Being nourished by an ordinary breath

One of the things we want to accomplish this month is to increase the nurturance, the benevolence, the sheer fun, soothingness, relief, and delight we take from a breath. I want you to be able to sit somewhere and take an ordinary breath of regular air and feel nourished by it.

We each brought things to smell – vanilla, wine, garlic, flowers, soap, coconut macaroons. Then we did breath meditations with the smells.

What you can do is this: get something, some substance or flower or scent you are delighted by. Have it near your nose, and then close your eyes and go into meditation. Just enjoy the smell and give yourself over to it totally. Move the piece of bread, or the flower, or whatever it is, further and further away from your nose, and let your nose be aware of the faint smell of it. it can be a relief to have the scent be not so intense. The bread is there on the table and I can still smell it.

This will give you the feeling that breath is something wonderful.

Usually we only experience this at times such as Thanksgiving, where someone else is roasting a turkey with herbs, and the smell is wafting through the room, and we chat away and every few minutes take a deep breath and say, “That aroma is so delicious.”

What I want you to cultivate in a breath meditation is the ability to relish breath in that way. With total gusto.

This week, hunt out great smells, whatever delights you, and let them teach you about breath.

Being nourished by Gravity

Ida Rolf, the wacky woman who invented what came to be called “Rolfing,” once said, “Each element that we encounter nourishes us. Even gravity nourishes us.” She mentioned that once in the 60’s at Esalen. Ten years later, that thought came to me and began to teach me about itself, and over the past twenty years I have slowly been learning. So tonight we played with taking nourishment from gravity.

If you weren’t here tonight, this may seem abstract to you. Or not.

What you can do, on your own, is to take naps. To have a good nap, it is necessary first to work just enough to get tired, and have your to-do list in order enough that you allow your self the luxury of a nap. This takes some doing!

So tomorrow, or today, or soon, line all that up and then luxuriate in a nap.

Here is the link to the class notes from June 6. We explored gravity. What happened was, one person said something like, “I am so tired, I just want a vacation,” and made a gesture of descending, the arms gently floating down toward the earth. We took that and ran with it.

Then we explored breathing with the earth’s gravitational field and drawing in nourishment from it.

As an exercise this week, if you want, set aside some nap-like times to let go into gravity. You can lie on your stomach and face “down” into the earth’s core. Or you can lie on your back and feel the earth back through your backside and spine.

As an act of imagination or daring, acknowledge that the earth somehow is conscious and beneficent, and is vast, and is mysterious and is liquid flowing lava. And this is Okay.

You may only experience that it feels good to lie down for 20 minutes and take a nap. A conscious nap. That is fine. The main thing is to do this in such a way that you enjoy yourself and feel rejuvenated afterwards.