Do you have patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?
Lao Tzu (c.604 – 531 B.C.)
We all know how to breathe, without a doubt it is as familiar as our hands or our seeing. I have worked with breath in meditation for fifteen years or so and I have recently discovered a whole new depth. That song a whole new world is now ringing through my mind!
I was doing the Taoist breathing methods as taught by the venerable Bruce Kumar Frantzis. I read his book again recently, and found a few audiobooks and guided meditations which was exciting. I worked with Taoist meditation I think before I came across vanilla Buddhist meditation (mindfulness of breathing and metta)
So in a sense it was a trip down memory lane, and in a sense it was literally a whole new world inside my body.
It starts with breathing down your central channel to your dan tien (lower) which is the hara or navel, or sacral chakra or swadhisthana. It is the point an inch or two below your tummy button.
You then work with directions, breathing first forward or outwards from your navel, then backwards to your spine , then to the sides. This is quite fascinating, and it turns into a massage of your inner organs. Working into liver and spleen, and then onto breathing down into the lower back and the kidneys. You can do this lying down and it helps you breathe backwards into your kidneys, and eventually upper back.
By the end you breathe into your whole trunk, feeling delicately and with increasing sensitivity the inner body and its organs. When you breathe into your upper back, which you can do by imagining the chest not rising, the air and lungs instead pushing back. This massages your heart! It actually massages your heart..unbelievable! I then journeyed into my neck, feeling and breathing into it in a new way.
I’ve always known how to basically breathe into an area, to breathe light or space into a part of the body, and release on the exhale, releasing tension. But this is a new level. I traveled up through my stiff neck, releasing and lightening, and up into my brain for heavens sake, literally feeling into it breath by breath.
Frantzis then led another exercise, using tantien as the breathing part. So imagine that it is doing the breathing, and you inhale through the skin to it and then back out. Then you imagine this backwards, which is an introduction to the Ming Men, or backwards gate. They call this the gate of life, and it is opened by imagining a clear channel through the dantien from back to front, linking with the energy channel encircling the navel. This is the Dai Mai meridian.
He calls this practice breathing energy into the dan tien in his CD Taoist Breathing. It progresses into breathing from and to your etheric body to the dan tien and back. The energetic field, or aura.
By the end I was feeling my body in a new way from the inside out. I now feel ready to awaken the rest of the body in some yoga or chi gung or something! Its funny because this was only the first CD of two, so I cant wait to report on what happens there..
What is also pretty amazing is that you can work with this whenever you want, bus, waiting room, office, bed. It’s the breath, so its not like you have to go somewhere to find it!
Featured Image – Attribution K Kendall and license – https://www.flickr.com/photos/kkendall/10971016065