The leaves have fallen from the trees in much of Colorado. What used to be vibrant golden, yellow and red petals of light have turned brown and dissolved into the darkness of the earth. This week as I sat with the trees of the November landscape, they seemed to ask me the question: How much have you surrendered? My approaching birthday beckoned me to celebrate the dual process of letting go and of rebirth.
This letting go is a lifelong journey, and I'm sure anyone over the age of 50 understands that! Over the past few years, a deeper letting-go practice has settled in. Traveling, commitments, working, and interacting with people have at times produced an over-stimulated nervous system that yearned for solace. Life was asking me to take a break, and when I didn’t respond, exhaustion took over. When that occurs, nothing else can be done except to relax and let go.
In those times, my physicality was creating a need for more rest—so much so that that it became an ongoing investigation in and of itself. Then a question would arise: how much can I relax? How much can I allow tension to fall away from each muscle? As this became a practice, it was apparent that the breath played an integral part in the experience. How fully can I dissolve into the bottom of every exhale? As I explored, each exhale became a vast release into emptiness. As each exhale continued, there became less and less certainty that an inhale would appear. And then as every following inhale arose, another YES to life resounded. There was a sense of existing between the thin veil of life and what was beyond.
As my awareness floated between the breaths, between the sensations in the body, and between thoughts in the mind, what was left? An eternal pause remained. This pause offered a relief from any concern, any problem, any sense of I. It was glorious to be held like an embryo in its viscosity; floating in the fluidity of bliss.
You might ask, how could this access to eternity be of benefit to me while I’m working? The pause creates space in the mind for new solutions to show up. That moment creates an emotional distance and increases the resilience to deal with what’s right in front of you. Think of how an extended conscious exhale makes all the difference between enjoyment and suffering while waiting in a long line.
As you practice letting go in your body and breath, my hope is that you notice the deeper letting-go that presents itself. Dip down into the vast blue pool of deep rest and pause-ability. As you rest between breaths you’ll find a well of silence and stillness. For the yogis, it is the balancing point between the two energies of prana vayu and apana vayu (http://www.yogabasics.com/learn/the-five-vayus/).
Discover for yourself this place of equanimity. Then take notice of what emerges. You might be surprised! It would be my joy to guide you through ancient and modern practices that enable you to bask between each breath.