Fellowship of Friends newsletter | BEING PRESENT

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Copyright 2008 Fellowship of Friends, Inc.


April 2008 · Vol 5, No 4

Breath

The breath of life is the consciousness of life.
Upanishads

The Orphic mysteries address the soul, ‘You who would breathe once more the air of heaven, greetings!’ As Gurdjieff describes, breathing air is one of the three types of nourishment, along with light and food. Without this nourishment, the human organism ceases to function, although the necessity of each food varies. One can live without light, literally as in the night time, or psychologically in imagination. One can go hungry, both of physical food and of experiences that feed the mind and the heart. But one has to breathe, a three second cycle of little variation. This anonymous, subtle rhythm of one’s life is so consistent, it cannot be accidental. ‘Time is breath,’ Gurdjieff told his students, without saying more. But Gurdjieff had pointed out the significance of time, not in its passage but its measurement of consciousness. ‘Your breath is a sacred clock,’ Hafiz says, ‘why not use it to keep time with God’s name?’

Since the cycle of breath is mechanical, and ‘every breath brings a new thought,’ as Rodney Collin observes, one realizes that this repetitive cycle brings an advantage to one’s efforts. An ‘I’ becomes the stimulus for consciousness, rather than identification. ‘The moment a thought arises in your mind,’ says a Zen master, ‘awaken right then and there.’ One has discovered a practical aim for one’s inner work, a focus for what one wants to achieve. Awakening does not occur in an abstract, non-physical place, but literally within oneself.

With this aim, one draws in a breath while making an effort to be present. As ‘I’s’ appear, one gently refuses to let them interrupt presence. Consciousness grows, and the I’s recede. Sometimes, one enters a perfect, inner silence. After a few moments, the breath becomes energized, as though one were breathing for the first time. One is awake, purified of thought. In this way, breath becomes a rhythm for the efforts to awaken. Instead of the mechanical passage of breath, breath becomes the time-keeper of presence.


Related thoughts:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, so long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Shakespeare

With every breath, man’s molecular body dies and is reborn.
Rodney Collin

In your quest for immortal breath, regulate your ordinary breathing to find its source.
Taoist Master

Be present at every breath. Do not let your attention wander for the duration of a single breath. Remember yourself always and everywhere.
Gujduvani

When the breath wanders, the mind is unsteady.
Patanjali


The goddess gives life to the Pharaoh. From a wall painting in the temple of Abydos, Egypt. Copyright 2008, Wayne Mott.


New Fellowship of Friends’ Web Site

We have a new web site!
Please visit the site at www.beingpresent.org

From the content:
- Awakening
- Our Spiritual Path
- Our Spiritual Teacher
- The Fellowship of Friends
- Newsletter back issues


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The Los Angeles center holds free introductory meetings on the first Thursday of each month at 7 pm. For reservations, please call +1 (310) 767 6704 or write to serse@speakeasy.net.

New Tel Aviv center website
The Tel Aviv center (www.beingpresent.org.il) is offering free introductory meetings. For more information, call +972 (0)3 5282204.

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Free open meetings happen on the first Sunday of each month at 5:00 PM. For more information please call the Buenos Aires Center at +54 (11) 4711-9076.

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Fellowship of Friends, Inc. (a non-profit religious corporation) P.O. Box 100 Oregon House, CA 95962.
Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved. No part of this newsletter may be copied, reprinted, or reproduced in any form without written permission from the Fellowship of Friends, Inc. (The images included here are for educational purposes only and are not intended for any other use.)