Wednesday, February 16, 2011
A Breath Away
So easy to have my palm rest on my strings to quiet them. But to quiet the strings of my thoughts, requires more practice, an ongoing practice, with any slight discomfort amplifying their frequency. Neither good nor bad, just my reality of being alive within my body. Thoughts come and go, feelings come & go, the body moves through space with and without awareness.
The breath comes and goes, in and out, from the moment I first screamed my way into this life. The breath is always with me, as is my body. The practice is to remain with the breath, to remain with my body. From this awareness, I have a chance for music to flow in me, through me, into the world. Am I aware of the sound of my guitar as I am playing? Am I aware of the words I am using, of the tone of my voice while speaking? Am I aware of the feelings, oftentimes causing bodily reactions, that habitually rule me?
Present moment, only moment. Now is when I can be with the music, be with myself playing music, just be. Where do I go, again and again? The power of habit, my own, my ancestors, and my society's run rough over noble intentions. Freedom from habit is gained in tiny moments of tuning my body, mind, and spirit. Qi Gong in the morning slowly bringing me into the moment as my body slowly moves in space, small energy blockages being cleared. My sitting allows my mind to calm a bit deeper at times, or allows me to see how far I am away from this moment. Breathing in I find the past pulling me; breathing out the future unnerving me; and the path to now is distorted in waves of thought. Finding my breath again, I calm. Over and over, returning and forgetting.
Present moment, only moment. The breath remains the door through which I may enter. The Alexander Technique provides me another door to develop awareness of how I am moving, and where am I moving from. With this disruption of my habitual ways of using myself, I find small freedoms, a more effective way to be in this moment. Slowly as one habit dissolves, it is replace by another one. Hopefully one that aids our ability to live this moment, and further our reach to live in all moments.
None of this is possible without the community of practice that guides me and supports all of our efforts. The sangha that practices harmony together, is another challenge to form and sustain, but vital in maintaining my practice. The practice of one supporting the practice of all; the fruits shared and the bounty overflowing.
Fifty-five years ago today, my parents were happy as I emerged from the womb. My brother and sister, aunts and uncles all celebrating my birth. Today I am exceedingly grateful for my family, friends, and teachers who have shared this life with me. I am reminded of the scream with which I entered this world, and as one author has mused - I wonder what life would be like if they had tickled me at my first breath instead.
Present moment, wonderful moment.