Non-Separation and the Breath


A few years ago a story of the consciousness of interconnection unfolded right before my eyes.  This happened from a place of non-separation, or in other words a real sense of oneness between people and nature.  It is a simple story really – one of three men and a tree.

Two of the men were leaders within their Balinese community.  One man had cut down a tree without permission from his community village.  You see in Bali one must obtain the permission of the entire village before cutting down a tree.  The sense of interconnectedness with nature and among themselves pervades the Balinese culture.

These two leaders were discussing – with tears flowing down their faces – what kind of consequences the man who had cut down the tree must face.  He had apparently done this before, most likely for carving art pieces to sell, so the discussion was a serious one.  I never found out what they did decide, but I did get to sit with one of the leaders and share meditation and mutual discussion about cultures translated through his brother.  I thanked him for this beautiful living example of  deep awareness on how each interconnected being or life form intimately affects another.

How is it that we forget that we are not separate from anything or anyone when our  breath tells us that we are constantly intimately connected.  We share the very air we breathe with all living things.  My dear friend and lifelong mentor, Richard MillerMiller, Ph.D of iRest  (grounded and concrete tools to come back home to a place of non-separation and well being) spoke eloquently on non-separation at the Summer of Peace through The Shift Network recently.  He emphasized that the ultimate healing for all humans lies first in our sense of separation from ourselves and secondly the “other”, or the world outside of ourselves.

In a recent class I was privileged to facilitate – Decrease Anxiety, Indulge Inner Peace – I remember saying that I believe the core of anxiety comes from when we go away from or leave behind our deep purpose in life, which comes from our wholeness.  This results in feeling a sense of separation.  This very sense of separation activates anxiety.

Our strong innate imprinting to belong and to survive  as we grow up into adults often times takes us away from the very sense of already belonging/deep interconnection that is a gift we are given at birth.  This leave taking from our  feeling of harmony with ourselves and life itself brings us to “war” within and without.

Deep abiding inner peace and equanimity brings us home to the state of non-separation, or as Richard says “non-dual” state of being.  What better tool to resonate with than the breath to remind us over and over and over that we are an integral part of the whole and never separate.  Inhale connected to exhale sharing with an abundant circle of life in the moment.  When we resonate this peaceful place those around us will attune to the same state.

Be the change you wish to see in the world….come back home.


941546_10201139084457154_1085573193_nOTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT:

Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath Preview, Reviews and purchase links can be found here:Breath-Book-coverW2(1)

The Path of Opening

Angel Oak Tree in Angel Oak Park, on Johns Island, Southern Carolina.

Angel Oak Tree in Angel Oak Park, on Johns Island, Southern Carolina.

“The person who breathes deep and easy, who holds minimal tension in the shoulders, who lifts the heart and chest – she/he has a very different experience of life. The root of the word courage means heart.  When we collapse the chest, we become easily dis-couraged, dis-heartened.  When we fill our space and widen our chest, there is suddenly room for connection, purpose and passion. ”  Victoria Castle in The Trance Of Scarcity – Hey Stop Holding Your Breath and Start Living Your Life, pg 64

Reading this passage from Victoria’s book this morning I was inspired to write this blog post and also made painfully aware of my own bodies tension and contraction.  As I sat to meditate it became very clear that I was clenching my mouth and jaw for no particular reason.  When checking with my breath it was contracted as well!  This most likely represents many years of muscular armoring in perceived unsafe situations along the way.

The “story” that went along with this contraction spoke to me quite clearly – “Hold tight!  You don’t know what is coming at you next!”  What a terrible story to live by, yet I am willing to bet that many of us hold this type of story in our bodies and psyche – most often unconsciously.  I know that when I live in contraction the tension keeps me disturbed, off balance and attending to what is wrong – or in Victoria’s words “holds us in the Trance of Scarcity”…..  and I say perpetuates “struggle mode”.

The amazing tree above spoke to me of the OPEN way in which we are meant to be.  This Angel Oak is wide open, spreading, begging to be connected with (as there are so many lovely branches to sit upon), and completely available to you, I or anyone/anything.  She has learned surrender, openness, trust, and wisdom from her years of being present to the moment of nature.  She is completely embodied in her tree elderhood.

We too can be in that flow by coming out of the daily creation of separation and into the natural state of belonging.  When we are out of this flow our breath is shallow, or we stop breathing for periods of time; our shoulders are slumped; brows furrowed; tense necks; clenched jaws; and a collapsed chest.  When we release these contractions and the stories that have created them, our world opens up and we naturally “belong” without any effort on our part.

So, I leave you with some identifying markers for the state of OPENNESS.  Remember that this state comes with a full opennessembodiment of sensation and breath.  What we embody, we become!

OPEN is: (from The Trance of Scarcity)

Ease…Prevailing trust….relaxed body….effortless breathing….”can do” attitude….collaborative….curious, asking questions….see opportunities…..generous……willing to take risks…….laugh easily at self…….energized……fighting FOR (not against)…..resilient….grateful…..releasing things easily…..make clear requests and agreements…..generative, accountable……wholehearted – and coming from your wholeness.

When we each inhabit this place of openness it not only affects others, but inspires them to open as well!  I extend my hand to each of you on this path of opening.  Though the body memory may want to go back into a contracted survival mode – your willingness to be aware of sensation and breath will give you a choice.  The way in which we breathe and embody is the way in which we live our lives.  How do you want to live yours??  Create and live by a different story!!


941546_10201139084457154_1085573193_nOTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT:

Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath Preview, Reviews and purchase links can be found here:Breath-Book-coverW2(1)


Breathing Room


These three things that matter can most often be found within another three states: Silence, Stillness and Spaciousness.  How our ego puts up a fight against even dipping one single toe into a space large enough to hold a full inhale and exhale in this very moment.

Try this simple exercise and see what happens – stand with feet planted on the floor about a hip distance apart, arms at your side with palms facing forward.  Watch as a full breath starts from the belly, expands the ribcage and back, then cascades like a waterfall on the exhale pausing in the pool of breath at the bottom.    Take several breaths this way.

Now close your eyes and lean forward as far as you can without tipping over.  Watch what happens to the breath.  Now come back to center and root down.  Watch what happens to the breath and be aware of all the micro-movements and adjustments the body must make in order to simply stand upright.

For most of us this simple exercise reflects what happens constantly all day long.  We lean into the future and our breath is literally held as our mind takes us to the next thing on the agenda.  There is no breathing room.

I experienced that today in a conscious exercise in yoga class.  As we moved very slowly from one pose to the next the mind wanted to revolt, to run, to judge, to do anything but be quiet to the burning muscle or the reflex thought about tomorrow.  Instead we were instructed to place our mind on gentleness within the silence, stillness and spaciousness that grew as each breath passed.

To gracefully let go of the ego’s urging to move out of the pose, run to the bathroom, or chant the mantra – this is too hard!  Watch the breath, love the body, let go gracefully of what is not meant for you.  How much more do we suffer if we don’t give enough breathing room to expand the moment that we are in right now?




941546_10201139084457154_1085573193_nOTHER BLOGS BY GAYE ABBOTT:

Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath Preview, Reviews and purchase links can be found here:Breath-Book-coverW2(1)