Have you noticed that the more conscious you become, the more you recognise your limitations? Ironic, isn’t it, that this greater awareness reveals just how little we really do know. The more awareness we have the more we see how small and confined our field of experience is!
Initially, when we are so identified with the body-mind; it’s as if we are living in a fishbowl. We really believe that our fishbowl is the whole extent of ourself. However, the more we observe the fishbowl, the more we realise there is so much more beyond its confining boundaries. We begin to realise that the edges of the bowl –the edges of our mind – are not really boundaries, but rather the beginning of a greater field: there really is a vast ocean of life beyond the bowl we have known. As we recognise this we can’t help but want to liberate ourself.
It is fascinating then to see how we can be aware of this yet still continue to operate from the confines of the bowl. Even if we see beyond the bowl’s boundaries as we clear away some of the peripheral grime, we often remain so comfortable within our known parameters that we are afraid to extend our selves much further. We remain caught between the desire to grow and expand, and the fear of relinquishing ‘the known’.
These are common experiences in the process of awakening.
Perhaps we should ask – awakening what?
Let’s consider two primary aspects in our awakening process.
The first is awakening to the awareness that is our true self – beyond the boundaries of our mind. The second is awakening to the energy that is our true being – beyond the confines of our body. These are really the same being, but we experience them as unique aspects of our ‘self.’
To awaken beyond the mind’s boundaries, we must dive deeper into our awareness. We can do this by suspending our usual occupation with thoughts. In our efforts to understand our life we typically use the mind to acquire more knowledge, but more ‘knowledge’ is just another element in the same bowl of the same mind. We might broaden our concepts by replacing limited ideas with more encompassing ideas, but as long as they remain ‘ideas’ our experience is still limited. Unfortunately, this has limitations. Trying to encounter the ocean of awareness through knowledge or a process of the mind is like trying to capture the entire ocean in a thimble (or –a fishbowl!).
Similarly, to awaken beyond the borders of the body we must dig deeper into our energy. We must suspend our usual occupation with our bodily habits. Most people are still using methodical habits in the attempt to awaken boundless energy, and here also, this can be limited. As long as our physical activity is based on habitual behaviours, our energy remains confined to a very small or superficial reserve.
If we are to expand beyond the conditioned boundaries of our self, we need to deconstruct the learned behaviours. This requires tenacity, courage and surrender. It takes a decisive shift away from all that is learned and a willingness to open to the unfamiliar. It requires us to awaken a different dimension of energy. Yet, to do this, we must be willing to exhaust the body and the mind in order to empty – ultimately to let go of the last reserves of identity. This is why very few people truly go deep. There is still such a strong identification with the body-mind that the tendency is to protect it. There is a great fear of letting go.
So, what is it then, that will carry us over that hurdle? What is it that helps us suspend our attachment to those last reserves of identification?
One of our greatest tools is already within us. BREATH.
Why breath? Because breath is the bridge between form and formlessness; between the body-mind and infinite conscious being. When we consciously engage deeper breathing, we are able to suspend and transform thinking and automatic behaviours. And we are able to access a different dimension of awareness and energy.
This is why, in the quest for liberation, mastering conscious breathing is so key.
With sufficient and specific breathing rhythms we are carried into deeper dimensions of awareness, and into realms of energy, that unlock the current of our true and authentic being. When we unlock this current, we are able to access boundless energy and awareness. Without this the energy pattern of our body-mind remains habituated, contracted and incapable of shifting into a higher, more unified state, or creative capacity.
It is through breath that confined and narrow channels are opened and through which identified thoughts, emotions and habitual behaviours can be transformed and released. We also discover another irony: the more we empty, the more we are filled. If we can create a state of constant openness and surrender, we can awaken to limitless energy. Along with this awakening is the true realisation of our Self as all. It becomes our living experience rather than a concept to achieve.
This is what it means to be truly alive. It is only when we have surrendered our known identity –our concepts and habits –that we awaken to the boundless life that we truly are.
Conscious breathing is one the simplest, most direct and powerful ways we can access this liberating gift.
Keep bringing your attention back to your breath consistently throughout the day. Let your breath be deep, full, flowing and steady. Watch and observe what happens. Without any effort, without having to preserve anything, gradually more energy will arise in you, bringing wonderful new awakenings in your life. Then you will realise that in releasing the fixations of body-mind you have not lost anything, instead you have gained everything. You are free to revel in the gift of life…you are fully alive!
© Isira Sananda 2020 All rights reserved