There’s a familiar saying in meditation circles that when we sit and practice we can experience a sense of “flashing openness”.  The first time I heard that I had images of a bunch of people sitting around meditating in trench coats.  But I gave it a try and slowly I began to understand.  We are the only ones who know when we are open and when we close down.  The stuff of life, ordinary stuff, not even the big huge stuff that is supposed to shut us down, but the little stuff, it builds up and it gets to us and we just want to shut down, close the door, turn off the lights, and pretend nobody’s home!!

When we practice meditation we learn to sit and focus on our breath, staying awake, lights going inside and becoming the observer of the breath.  We begin to ride this sort of delicate dance of the inhale and the exhale, without forcing it or attacking it, holding it or pushing it away, but just relaxing into the natural rhythm and flow of it.  And for a flash of an instant something opens inside of us.

Some schools of thought believe the flash occurs at the end of the exhale, in the gap, right before the inhale begins.  That this brief moment we experience a flash of openness where anything can happen.  Where we can stand on the edge between the thoughts and the reactions and just wait, like watching a wave break.  If we practice this dance, this light observation of the pause between the breaths we begin to expand that flash and even allow it to spill over and expand into the next breath and the next.  These precious moments where we are open we can actually experience a sense of endless possibilities, hope, curiosity even excitement.

Now the time where remembering this flash counts the most is when life’s challenges become too great to bear and we feel that familiar sense of retraction, we are shutting down.   The breath becomes tight, shallow and withdrawn.  This is where the PRACTICE part of this thing comes in handy, because with one deep breath you can wake yourself up, take another breath, and keep it going; breath in, breath out, focus, focus, there it is, the breath begins to soften taking on its own naturally balanced rhythm and suddenly you find yourself looking for the gap, waiting for that delicious moment where there is nothing but peace and possibility, and then the wave closes out, dissolves back into itself and the next one begins to form and there you are standing on the precipice of the gap flashing open….without a trench coat.

Practice:

Inhale deeply through the nose and blow out through the mouth like you are blowing on a candle.  Repeat 2 more times, slowing down the exhale each time.

Begin to breathe only through the nostrils and notice the quality of the inhale and exhale. Are they forced or free?  Just let the awareness stay on the breaths,  saying “inhale” to yourself as you breath in  and “exhale” as you breathe out.  After a minute or so you will notice the breathing takes on a life of its own, gentle, almost imperceptible.  This is when you curiously seek the gap.  As the exhale glides to a finish, wait, relax, listen carefully and suddenly, gently an inhale begins.  It is in this moment that you are completely and utterly present, OPEN.  Try again, practice for 3 minutes a day and let me know how it goes!

Peace to you- Lori

 

 

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