What is your first impulse on waking from sleep?

Whatever it is, it tells you a lot about how the day might unfold. I try to make it some small word or feeling winged Godwards. Fumble mumbled gratitude for breath to even voice thanks. Thanks for the body which holds the breath. Then thanks for the mind that feels winged thoughts and the heart’s yearning to toss secret words up into the celestial void which surrounds us.

I also watch, a wolf guarding sheep, for the too familiar lines of automatic fixation to try to assert themselves. The habitual angles of approach too long held onto without the freedom or ability to stand apart, witnessing.

Too long have we been gripped by internal monologue, the repeated patterns of casual judgment, curdled opinion, and some variation of the not so secret complaining that what didn’t happen, or did happen, should or shouldn’t have happened.

Too long have we wanted things to be different than they are.

Too long held that our firmly held preferences and expectations should rightly be satisfied, that they are even justified as an expression of our singularity as individuals; seeking to stand apart from the herd; to be somehow especially noted as a breed apart from the blurred masses.

Yet, as a wise wag recently put it, “Expectation is premeditated disappointment.” 

Our culture teaches us the religion of exceptionality, the cult of success, by which rubric we measure the value or valuelessness of our days: the cult of personality which the silver screen and the pulp rags so adore.

This unacknowledged illness, when looked at dispassionately, is the undoing of our world.

When we stand truly free of the obsessive and unconscious identification with the surface ego, then can we breathe deeply enough to catch air that we have not breathed before. Then can we think thoughts that have enough space around them to be an effective expression of the essential silence we are held in. Only then is there enough emptiness inside us to house the stillness out of which God’s voice rises within us, to find expression as us, just as we are, in the very lives we live now, revealing to us in each holy moment, the blessed miracle of ordinariness. In this state, everything we see, feel, know is lit by the light of an extraordinary equanimity, rendering all as if embraced by an infinite tenderness, making all that is ordinary singularly sacred.

This is why I breathe!


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