4. Breathing

Our first practice, or meditation, is the breath.  It is the most powerful practice because our breathing is both conscious and autonomic.  It is of the mind, of the body, and close to the heart.  Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, a greater mindfulness is as near as your own breathing.  Breathe out first, letting your spine curl forward as your diaphragm reaches down into your abdomen.  Then breathe in, chest expanding, spine straightening.  You feel your heart opening to the world.  Your head is up; your eyes are on the horizon.  Here, your breathing says.  Here and now.  Just this.  Now, you are ready for the second practice....

The sound of salaams rising

as waves diminish down in prayer,

hoping for some trace of the one

whose trace does not appear....

                      – from “Roses Under Foot,”

                                                     by  Rumi

“And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”    – Genesis 1:2

The Hebrew word for “spirit,” ruach, also means wind, breath, or mind.

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