Inhale and Exhale Holy Laughter

 

3.39 By self-control over the maintenance of breath,

one may radiate light ~ The Sutras of Patanjali

 

I can begin this post by mentioning the beauty of Ojai, my trip details, the amazing setting we were in. I can describe the trees, the mountains, and the fabulous location I was lucky to spend a few nights at. I could write about each person at the teacher training and how they contributed to my learning in ways that are seen, and unseen. I could also write about what an amazing teacher Michael is and how grateful I am for his style of teaching and how he ties it all into one coherent whole. I can write about the amazing being called Audri who holds space like no other on this planet. I can write so much of what was shared and discussed this weekend. I can also write about all the things that went wrong…I shall choose to write about my own experience, as that is all I really know for sure.

Yesterday Michael Brian Baker asked me if I am okay getting on the massage table to demonstrate a healing. This was the second day of Level II Breathwork training.

I met Michael and the Guardians at Bhakti Fest Midwest two years ago. Everyone was talking about the crazy experience they just had in the room where Michael and the Guardians were facilitating breath work, I figured why not give it a try. My curious mind wanted to find out what all the talk was about. What is this that is attracting so much attention? After all, I have done this breath work thing before so this will be simple. The first session I attended was in a room packed with so many people, perhaps one hundred of them. I remember this as a peaceful experience really. Not much moved that day.  What really happened was, I fell in love with the Guardians.  The way they held the space, their white outfits, and the fragrant water they sprinkled everyone with after each session.  They were like angelic beings keeping it all together. Making sure no one gets hurt, no trouble makers around.  When Michael announced the discount for teacher training Level 1, I did not even think twice. I was in. I wanted to be like these Guardians. Plus, I was not ready to go home yet and face real life right after Bhakti Fest.

At Level I training I was teamed up with a partner who intuited right away that when I was younger, I had wanted to be a dancer. After breaking down in tears,  I recalled how much I had also wanted to be an artist, which in turn had me facing what I had not wanted to face before: I was never allowed to be who I wanted to be, and that is why I had still not found who I really am. That was enough insight to throw me into an ocean of grief that lasted until very recently.

I have been feeling that Level II was an important thing for me to attend, and life just keeps diverting my attention to other things … These diversions have felt like a fall from grace.  A fall from grace where someone literally threw me in hell.

I am usually an emotional person, but the intensity of emotions I have been feeling for the past several years is really unquantifiable. Indescribable. No way to put in words. To add to my grief, I keep seeing my shadow everywhere I look and in everyone I meet. Even in my cats! They have shown me how I want love on my own terms, and my own time. If I need my space, everyone better keep clear because showering me with love when I do not feel like it will create a negative reaction! It is not that I have just begun to address my shadow, I have been working on this diligently for seven years now ever since I learned that there is this thing called the shadow. If you wonder what that is, it is simply the darker aspects of our personality that we choose to not see and that we keep hidden and suppressed. It is the blind spot in us. The things we only see in those around us and think are disgusting about them not even realizing they are also parts of us. There is no escaping the shadow. That’s what makes life so fun!

Back on the massage table, Michael asks me if I’m ready to heal my ancestral karma, and if I am ready to heal my relationship to the male role model in my life. My response is a whole hearted yes! No hesitation. I have been ready for some time now and that is part of why I have been on this wild seeking journey. Yes it is true I want to help others heal, but that is because I know what wounding is and I know how it feels to live with it. I know how it feels to want it to be done.

So here I am laying on the table, with somewhat of an idea of what is in store. I have breathed in this familiar way as many times as the hairs on my head (well, close enough, maybe). I have been doing breath work since 2008 when I met my dear friend Frank and was blown away by the experience I had at his Transformational Breath workshop. Transformational Breath is very similar to the technique used at the Breath Center by Michael Brian Baker except it is one inhale and one exhale, both from the mouth, as opposed to two inhales and one exhale. The first time I ever breathed was with Frank.  I experienced tetany in my arms that day, my arms  floated above my belly and started forming symbols in the air that I had no control over. I also had a vision which I wish to keep private. As I recall this vision now, it makes perfect sense as to why I am called to the path of being a healing guide.

Michael goes on explaining the anointing with essential oils procedure, and the meanings of the four directions but I do not even recall in what order that occurred or half of what he was saying because soon I was on my own inner journey.

I have done breathwork sessions where I become one with the breath, with the music, or blend into nothingness, where the breath just takes over, and breathes me. I have also had sessions where I would literally have to get up and go vomit my guts out. Sessions where I would be gagging because of all the crying, where Frank will come up to me and provide some soothing mantra that I could repeat. Or ask me to tone or pound my fists.

This time with Michael it was different then anything that has ever come up for me before.
Michael asks me to begin the usual breath. As I lay there inhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, inhale, exhale…the familiar dry mouth begins, my mind calms down, my body starts the tingling. I feel Michael working energetically. I do not see him because my eyes are closed but I can feel the energies moving in and around me.

Then suddenly this strange rumbling begins from deep within my core… can this be for real?…laughter… I begin to laugh uncontrollably and then the words:
It’s all a cosmic joke keep flashing in my mind’s eye. I suddenly feel the need to share it out loud so I say : it’s all a cosmic joke. More laughter follows, and the more I laugh, the funnier it gets, and I just cannot get myself to stop laughing.

I had the best laugh of my life!

As I laugh, I realize the extreme sadness that this laughter carries and I recognize that it is not foreign to me. I have always used laughter to distract myself from every misery. Sarcasm has always been one of my favorite things.
Here she is, the wounded warrior laying there with all the years of waging war with herself, she finally made it to this table. After a lifetime has passed, she finally said this has to end.

I will not accept this abuse anymore.

I will not accept it on behalf of all the women who came before me and who will come after me.

There she lay on a massage table laughing her guts out at the insanity of it all in front of twelve complete strangers.

I am not sure how long I was laughing but it seemed that the entire creation was laughing with me.

Michael asks me to take a deep breath and hold for thirty counts, I begin feeling so much gratitude for the intensity of this release that has just ocurred, gratitude for Michael for guiding so gently and holding space, for these strangers who are silently sitting and witnessing this healing with all the patience of a caring, nurturing, and attentive mother.

It is true that we all have the power to heal ourself, whenever we are ready, whenever it is ok to let go. When we have forgiven ourself and integrated the reasons for our suffering. Having someone guide us and witness us is necessary for this healing to occur and it is a privilege both ways.

I have travelled high and low, learned so many modalities, seeking, searching for resolution. I used the breath for so long and even used it in a recent retreat I facilitated and yet it is beyond me why it took so long to recognize this breath as the gold.

Have you ever wondered why yoga is so powerful? The secret is the breath.

Have you ever wondered why working out and sports are so powerful? The secret is the breath.

Have you ever wondered why when you dance it feels so amazing? The secret is the breath.

The breath is our direct connection to source.

The breath never lies.

The breath is truth.

The breath is holy.

Gender and the Great Mystery

This book has been sitting patiently on my shelf for two years now.  I finally started reading Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee’s book Fragments of a Love Story last night.  It has been a while since I read anything on Sufism.  Just two pages into reading and one of his quote’s flashed before my eyes:

God, the great Beloved, is neither masculine nor feminine (pg.2).

I have always known this as truth. I grew up with this truth. To me, God has no form, no shape, no gender, no image, and yes, this god of mine sounds more like the definition of consciousness as defined by consciousness studies scholars, philosophers, and mystics alike.

Things get a bit confusing when we keep hearing things like the divine feminine is rising… it sort of instills this idea of a gendered deity. Whether male or female, masculine or feminine.  Do we really want to replace the idea of a divine masculine god in the sky with a divine feminine that rises from the dead?

God is genderless. In Surat Al Ikhlas, Allah or God is refered to as male : huwaهُوَ , this is because the pronoun it does not exist in the Arabic language.

رَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمbi-smi llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīmIn the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
112.1.قُلْ هُوَ ٱللَّهُ أَحَدٌqul huwa llāhu ʾaḥadSay, “He is Allah , [who is] One,
112.2.ٱللَّهُ ٱلصَّمَدُallāhu ṣ-ṣamadAllah , the Eternal Refuge.
112.3.لَمْ يَلِدْ وَلَمْ يُولَدْlam yalid wa-lam yūladHe neither begets nor is born,
112.4.وَلَمْ يَكُن لَّهُۥ كُفُوًا أَحَدٌۢ
*table from wikipedia

The Sura I just quoted actually describes God or Allah as non-local, non- dual, non-human, and eternal.

One of my favorite metaphysical books of all time, that I reference over and over is The Kybalion.

The Kybalion speaks of the seven laws of the universe, or the way in which the universe operates. This is the physical, manifest world we are in, not the hidden worlds behind form.  One of these laws is that gender exists in everything.  Gender is in everything, in the mind, in nature, in energy, and in our physicality.

Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and Feminine Principles Gender. manifests on all planes.

If we take a non-dual stance, and adopt the idea that we are all one interconnected being (God, Allah, Great Spirit, consciousness…etc….) on the subtle levels, this being is manifesting in this physical world as individuals.  Then everything in the physical world must apply to this universal law and yet that which is not manifest, that which is beyond the veil, where the eye cannot see, the law of gender does not apply. All souls are genderless.  All light beings are genderless.

Everything is made of both feminine and masculine energies, vibrations or frequencies. The ratios may differ but where there is feminine there needs to be masculine and where there is masculine there needs to be feminine, except on the subtle level this no longer holds true. Consciousness is genderless.

I am just going on a hunch here, and a humble attempt at an interpretation…

This remains one of the greater mysteries of our entire existence really.

Let’s have a conversation, if you have some insights and thoughts please do share.

Do you know who I am ? …Words I wrote November 7, 2015

Do you know who I am?

I come from you
From the darkest purples of the Murex shells
From the potsherds washed up on the shores of sandy beaches
From the ships that sailed for miles and miles
From the waves of the deepest blue waters that crashed upon the piers

My story is ancient

Woven through history

It is timeless
My father is the nectar of orange blossoms
My mother the womb of the earth
My blood once flowed through the trees of Cedar
My bones fashioned into castles and forts
My flesh and skin tell of grace
 and the sorrows of the ages

They tell a million truths

Look into my eyes

Do you see that glint of light?

When my flesh and bones are no more

The light shall remain

As you turn your gaze

You will find me

I dwell in the eight directions