I’ve been listening to an audio book on this trip. It’s Sally Kempton’s Beginner Meditation. Meditation is challenging for me (and probably most of you too) and I don’t often get a chance to practice as there are usually small people (and sometimes a large hairy one) who need my attention. But boy, when I do get to meditate I feel like I get my insides sorted, cleaned and re-organized on an energetic level. My world becomes infinitely better.
Something Sally said resonated with me…she talked about the energy of breath. Every parent knows what it’s like to creep into your sleeping child’s room just to hear them breathe. Their gentle inhalation telling you that this perfect person is alive, and with every breath your sweet child (they are always sweet when they are sleeping) continues to live so that you can love them-teach them-exist for them.
Sally gives a wonderul guided meditation that begins with a focus on breath. She asks you to think on your inhalation. With each breath, feeling the cool air slip past your nose and issue down your throat to your lungs. Each inhaltion brings breath that is charged with energy-life force. In yoga this is called prana and I’m not sure that there is a good quivalent for that word in the English language but prana is life-giving energy and just as plants create energy from drinking in the sunlight, humans (and all other breathing beings) acquire life energy by breathing prana in.
On the trip down, I sat on the plane, lodged between my husband and a lovely lady named Diane- listening to Sally Kempton and trying to bring my awareness to my breath. My attention started at my nose, and flowed into to my lungs. I focused on how easily my diphram relaxed to let my lungs expand as I breathed in and then contracted to squeeze the air out again…and then I thought about my mom. She passed away a few months ago after a long battle with cancer. She was the strongest (and often stubbornest) person I have ever known. I’d never ever thought about how she breathed…until the end.
“Kim,” my brother warned as I prepared for my first visit at the hospital. “She doesn’t sound good. It’s really hard for her to breathe.” We didn’t know she was dying yet, we thought she’d come out of the hospital again like she’d always done before. But when I walked into that room and heard her…well anyone who has exerienced this will know how terrible it is. She looked like herself but she wasn’t really there– the painkillers gave her distance from reality as well as from her pain. She recognised me but had trouble talking. Every breathe she took hurt her. Her breathing was shallow and breif. She had to consciously inhale every time. It was heart-breaking to watch.
My sister and dad were there when she finally let go. They say that the breath just left her and that was it. She wasn’t in her body anymore.
Meditation cleans your energetic body. It helps clear blockages. For me a major blockage is the loss of my mom. People mourn for a reason…and with two young children, I’ll admit that I’m often too busy for a proper cry. This vacation and meditation give me the chance to sit and think- to clear and to heal. To focus on my breath and breath in and breath out. Right now I want to honor all of the precious breaths my mom did take. The time she was with us was a gift. I also was to take the time to be utterly and truly grateful for the life I share with all of of my living loved ones (especially the two pip-squeaks back home with Nanna).
One day we are all going to breath our last breath. Life is a gift. Be grateful for every day, for love and happiness and for every single breath!