Living Breathing Truth

"When you accurately perceive the fluidity of things you can also begin to perceive the constancy behind them: the creative, transformative, boundless, immutable Tao." -- Lao Tzu

Happy Halloween!

Perhaps it is the Day of the Dead that got me in the mood to reflect on the impermanence. I wrote the passage below in my journal last Friday.

These precious day,
This precious moment,
None can be returned.
All is memory.
"Me" is the past.
"Mine" is a ghost.
"I" is fleeting.
The breath turns into desire.
Desires turn into actions.
None belongs to you.
You belong to the day.
You owe it to the moment.
The breath makes the day—your day.

The more I live, the more I lose -- relationships, loved ones, dreams and desires, and the more I realize the living truth shared by Lao Tzu above the more I see that resisting the resistance is futile. In Ayurveda, there is a natural course of things where a condition goes through 3 phases: accumulation, aggravation, and alleviation. An inhalation builds up (accumulation) to an apex (aggravation) and an exhalation alleviates it. An exhalation builds up to an apex and an inhalation relieves it. When a condition is unhealthy or out of balance it is due to it being stuck in the aggravation phase. Instead of experiencing acute short term stresses that challenge the body and mind to repair, strengthen, and grow we are mired in chronic stresses that keep us inflamed, lethargic, or weakened. There is no short answer to life difficulties and problems. However, there is the fundamental condition that when it is in balance the rest of our lives too can express its harmonious flow.

If I believed in God, I would worship her through my breathing. Because the breath is freely given to this body and allows me to exist. Each breath owns my life and drives all my actions. The breath is the microcosm of the 3 phases which exist in every cycle--day, night, week, month, year, and season. The older I get the less afraid I am of dying and the more focus I am on being truly alive. What enlivens you every tiny moment? It is the breath that leads to Samatha or tranquility that is one of the foundations of Insight. It is also the breath that leads to Sati or mindfulness that is another foundation of Insight. And if you have insight then you know the living truth in yourself -- the microcosm that connects you to the living truth of the macrocosm. You don't need to follow someone else's living truth to tell you what your ethic and morality, diet and exercise, or relationship and life purpose should be. I happily learn from others' living truths and experiment with my breathing, doing, and thinking. But nobody can feel my breath for me. Its optimum pattern is completely unique to my DNA. It is a divine wisdom that is constantly and intimately guides me.

These days when I teach yoga I like to remind the participants that it isn't a yoga posture unless the breath is fluid--steady and easeful. The breath enlivens first the senses and mind then the vital organs. It literally first arrives in your nose up by your eyes, ears, and brain down the mouth and throat to the chest cavity where the heart and lungs are. If you want the breath to enliven your digestive organs and reproductive organs then you need to ensure the relaxation of the upper body in order to allow the flow and motion to take place in the abdominal and pelvic cavities. The least a yoga posture does is allowing the life force to optimally mobilize the senses and organs. The most a yoga posture can do is allowing the vital force to enliven the body and enlighten the heart and mind. The breath transforms the body and the body in turn transforms the breath into creative, insightful actions. A natural resistance takes place to balance the opposite forces. Because the balance resisting force exists in me I in turn exist as a balance resisting force to every relationships. To live wholly and freely is to suffer just enough but not more than needed. It is our individual responsibility to determine how to suffer harmoniously through the living breathing truth. After all, "a happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships." --  Helen Keller.