A Breath Exercise for Suffering and Joy

woman-in-water-picture-id540717970 A Breath Exercise for Suffering and Joy

In the 11th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna shows Arjuna all the forms of the Universe, turning back into the pure form from which they were manifested.

The forms of the Universe: Breathe them in. Take in the baby’s crying, the sound of traffic, it’s all energy, it’s all shakti in form. As you draw it into your being, let the forms go, let your concepts about it all go, turn it back into pure shakti. Sit straight, draw it all into your chest.

All of your thoughts now, your memories, think of the political world, a breath for that.

See all the candidates, all of the international intrigue, all of the genuine seeking for peace, a breath for that.

See it all; the play, the dance, the forms, the mother, the mother at play, all aspects of the mother. Draw it back into its pure form within you, Mother shakti. Draw it into your heart.

Think of all the things that fill you with love and tenderness, a child’s smile, a flower, the smell of Spring, feeling love for another human being or from another human being, seeing peace exist between two people, moments of gratification.

As they come to mind, notice them, allow them, see them as forms, draw them in upon your breath. You are forming a relationship with the Mother, for these are all aspects, the beautiful aspects of the Mother. These are Durga, Lakshmi, Mary, Rachel, all the beautiful aspects.

Now bring to mind all the heavy aspects of the Universe: violence, suffering, physical pain, incredible loneliness, paranoia, people out of control on drugs, tensions between generations, races, religions, man’s ecological shortsightedness, our greed, lust, our anger.

Draw it all in on the breath. These are the other faces of the Mother. This is Kali Ma; the Mother whose tongue hangs out dripping with blood, who wears a circlet of skulls around her neck, who is ugly beyond belief.

If you’re going to have a love affair with the mother, you can’t just have the beautiful aspects, you’ve got to take it all.

Are you strong enough and quiet enough to give space to all the faces of the Mother, to all the forms? Hey Ma, you’re really ugly, oh Ma, I love you so much. Can you love the Universe that much?

Can you find a place in yourself where you don’t judge God? Where you look upon it all and see it’s perfection, including its horror?

– Ram Dass

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