Click the image to see the discussion in the Collective Evolution Facebook Group.
A man I know is dependent on a machine to breathe. The machine cycles his inhalations and exhalations at a steady, unchanging pace. Ordinarily, his emotions would alter his breathing, but he cannot change how he breathes, and the conflict between his natural rhythms and the machine sets off the alarm. If he were not attended to promptly, it would be life threatening.
Human society and individual habits are like a breathing machine, fixing all who are on it to an unnatural style of living which may begin with the alarm clock and go through the day with schedules, appointments, fitting in with rules and regulations, being too long in cars, on cell phones and laptop computers (ahem!)
It is no wonder that homo sapiens, although a biological organism of Nature, is a species far removed from her beauty and balance. The rigid, habitual (unaware) lifestyle of modern humans has devastating consequences.
... suffering is the effect of losing awareness of what is truly perfect in our essence of being. There is a need for awakening....
The question of this discussion is, 'What practices support greater awareness?' — whether it is Christian contemplation, Buddhist meditation, Yoga, working with plant spirits, or any other. I have explored many practices and am currently experimenting with a synthesis of what has been most effective and efficient for me. Are there any who would experiment and practice this for a few days, then write how it feels to you?
Heart Space Breathing While observing the breath, feel the heart space.
With your eyes open or closed, simply be aware of the breath. When you are attuned to it, move your attention to the center of your chest, and tune in also to the heart space.
Any activity of the mind (such as labeling, noting, expecting, imagining, projecting or wandering) can hinder or limit the practice. Simply return attention to observing the breath and feeling the heart space, with openness and trust.
Heart Space Breathing can be practiced as a sitting of any duration, and brought into one's awareness over the day. The words can be played with (focus on the 'oneness center' in the middle of the chest rather than calling it the 'heart space' etc.) and adjusted to the individual.
For those attracted to writing, it can be helpful and insightful to keep a journal to note such things as dreams, self-observed changes in behavior like responding rather than reacting to triggers, increased feelings of inner peace, compassion, happiness for no reason, non-separation, and so on. There are no expectations, only observing what is.
Some practices specify a focus — in Heartfulness meditation it is, 'Gently close your eyes and think that the Source of Light is already present within your heart.'
Heartfulness goes on to say, 'Rather than try to visualize it, simply tune in to your heart and be open to any experience that you may have.'
These instructions sounds good, and I have adapted them as part of my practice. However, such specificity does not allow awareness to freely express itself. I leave the details to my intuitive feeling in the moment.
Some teachings prescribe a duration for the practice such as in Heartfulness meditation, 'Do this for 30 minutes. If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your heart.'
Any pre-conceived notion binds a mental concept to the practice. Heart Space Breathing does not put a suggested amount of time on the sitting practice. Rather, trust your own intuitive feeling. In the Isha Kriya of Sadhguru, the practitioner breathes in rhythm to the thoughts:
Inhalation 'I am not the body.'
Exhalation 'I am not even the mind.'
When I experimented with Sadhguru's yoga meditation, the effect on me was contracting and separating rather than expanding and merging. It was interesting to observe and I replaced his words with my own — until I realized that also imposed limited mental ideas onto limitless awareness.
Structure may enable a system or technique to be mass marketed, but it also makes the practice rigid. Systems tend to follow the tradition, or the persona of the teacher/teaching, rather than allow awareness to arise in the moment for the unique individual. Guided visualizations also fits the listener's head with someone else's version of a hat (and I tip my hat to you, Rod MacKinnon, for this saying.)
Deep breathing can be very beneficial, but is another practice. In Heart Space Breathing, simply observe and do not try to force the breath to change. It is fine to adjust the posture to allow the lungs to fill more fully, naturally and effortlessly.
I have added inversion, deep breathing and the Five Tibetan Rites(a simple yoga routine) to my practice. I also work with Cannabis indica and other medicinal herbs and sometimes consider them to be an adjunct to the practice.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and if you choose, to participate.