Remember when you deepened your practice of generosity? (Issue #19, February 2006) Now I suggest that you deepen your breathing practice.
I have extended my breathing time to 30 minutes. During that time, I keep my awareness strictly on the sensations in and around my nostrils. I have noticed many things!
30 minutes can seem an interminable length of time, and I sometimes have a fit of impatience and frustration. I have things to think about! Places to go! Things to do! Clients! Newsletters! Grandchildren! Chores! Errands! Hurry, hurry! Scurry, scurry! Worry, worry!
That spasm of irritation is like a narrow doorway, and if I can just squeeze through it, if I can return my awareness to the experience of my breath in my nostrils again and again, then I can enter peace. Ah yes! I breathe and I remember. Peace. I remember this way to live. I remember serenity.
Part of the frustration comes from keeping my awareness on my nostrils. I would much rather ride my breath into my lungs, and travel through my body glorifying in the gift of breath. The discipline of awareness leads me to the narrow doorway. The straight gate to the valley of peace!
30 minutes is long enough for the irritation to arise. 30 minutes is long enough for me to pass through into an experience of profound peace. No hurry, no worry. No future, no past. Only now. This is peace. Only my breath in my nostrils. This is quiet. Only this breath, this now. This is rest. No thinking, no perspective. This is a path to becoming a Master of Perspective.
Of course I still have all my errands, all my work, all the things to think about and do. After my 30 minutes of breathing, my future and my past reassemble themselves, but something is different. They are not attached to me! I am not defined by them. The future is there -- all my chores and errands; and the past is there -- all my unresolved stuff. But they are not me.
30 minutes of breathing teaches me that I can live my day in hurry, scurry, worry, or I can live my day in peace. Either way my day is lived, either way my chores are done. Either way I come to the end of the day. The choice is obvious! But the choice is not always easy. Hurry scurry beckons. So moment by moment, I breathe, I feel the air in my nostrils, and I remember I can choose peace.
In the evening, before I go to bed, I give myself another gift of 30 minutes of breath. No review of the day, no assembling the list for tomorrow, just noticing my breath as it enters and leaves my nostrils. Such a gift I give myself! Peace. Quiet. Rest. Gladness!
But that kitchen timer has got to go! Such a jarring, unappealing sound! I've been practicing not using a timer. I often know exactly when 30 minutes have passed, but nearly as often I'm way off.
Isn't it interesting how things come together? Just as I began using the timer, I got the following emails from readers:
*When I see your suggestions for doing something a certain amount of time, I picture people wondering, as I did, what kind of sound I would use that wouldn't undo all that wonderful breathing. Well, I found it. I just bought a "Zen Alarm Clock." It has a timer on it for meditation practice so you're not jarred out of the pleasant, calm, meditative state by a loud 'buzzzz' or 'rrrring'.
There are several styles, and none is really what I would call 'inexpensive.' One I bought has a Tibetan-style bowl that is tapped by a small rod to make it ring. I bought a smaller one for my shop that has a bar that is tuned to a bell-like pitch. Both have the same multi-purpose use: timer, alarm clock, and clock. One place to find it is www.chopa.com.
And thanks for all the support in the Breath & Water letters!
I've seen those clocks, and I wanted one. But I've got no room in my trailer for one. And then I got the following email. I'll be experimenting with my cell phone!
* I've been doing pretty well with the breathing practice, but I've come to dread the end of the 15 minutes and the ringing of the kitchen timer. My daughter showed me that my cell phone has a timer. So now I use that. I choose a relatively inoffensive tune, and turn the volume to low. It is a fairly gentle reminder, rather than the loud noise of the kitchen timer. Maybe others have a similar function on their phones. I'm sure someone under 35 can show them how to use it! :)
And Jett, thanks so much for keeping the Breath and Water club going. Your newsletters seem to come just when I need them the most. They are always interesting, and often provocative. Just like you!
Someone wrote about "Become a Master of Perspective."
* I've been practicing becoming a Master of Perspective. I'm not a Master, only an apprentice, but I've learned one thing: Perspective is Everything. You actually taught me that once before, long ago in a reading. Do you remember? I was worried about my daughter's lack of success in school, and you said, "To whose definition of success have you ascribed?" At the time I had to laugh at your way of saying it, but it made sense. You helped me see that my daughter was successful, and that the success I was looking for wasn't success at all when it came to her. You turned me around so that I could see everything differently. You showed me I could alter my perspective.
When I got the newsletter about mastering perspective, I remembered that reading, and I talked with my daughter about that time in her life, and what you taught me then, and how it helped us both. Please know that we are both grateful.
Your newsletter also made me realize that over the years I'd forgotten the importance of perspective, so I've been practicing what you recommended. I am astonished every day as I learn that perspective is everything. Perspective can change a beautiful day into an ugly one. Perspective can change a misunderstanding with my husband into an argument or into an opportunity to know each other better. Perspective is everything. Thank you again, Jett. You always teach me."
I know, sometimes I have to laugh at my way of saying things in a reading, too.
But speaking of language, it's important to recognize that our perspective shows up in our language. As you work with mastering your perspective, be sure to listen to yourself. Listen to yourself as you speak aloud, and listen to yourself as you speak within.
See what you can do about deepening your breathing practice, and keep working with your perspective. And please write to me so I can share your comments with the rest of the Club.
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