Breath: Gateway to life & Truth Part II
Let me tell you a bit about my first experience with Breathwork as a form of healing therapy.
I’ve had many, many training in breathing. From my Ninja training where the breath is a vital area when it comes to staying hidden, overcoming fear, point of entry to your opponent, becoming ‘invisible’, etc. With my Taijiquan training, slowing down the breath and the movements to get to a subtle state where the Qi is felt and controlled is an important aspect.
From my Yoga training of course a lot of emphasis is put on Pranayama, where the yogi tries to find and stay in the point of ‘no-breath’, to connect to its source.
In the Tantric Yoga, when deeply connecting with my partner, synchronising the breath, or circulating it between each other can bring you to a higher state of feeling oneness.
When giving Acupressure therapy, I focus a lot on my own breath and that of the other, creating harmony and transparency between us.
So, breath training was no stranger to me. I was told from an early age to breath in through the nose and out through the mouth, bringing the breath to Dantien, or Hara (just below the navel). Having 4 breath-cycles per minute was my focus, creating space within each cycle a must.
Without knowing it, I was using my breath to desperately push away any bad memories and not looking at the fact that I was depressed throughout my life. If my past was haunting me, I simply was too afraid to look back at it. From psychologists to meditation-guru’s, to de-armouring healers, no one could penetrate my shield, and my mind was too smart, too alert to allow any attack to come and penetrate my defences.
So, if anyone would invite me to do another session where most likely I would meet my demons, I would most happily decline…!
In Thailand on the island of Koh Phangan, I followed a beautiful course on Theravada Buddhism where already I found myself getting more vulnerable and sharing my inner feelings with others, which was a new thing. Our teacher suddenly walked out the shala and came back with Art McHeart, a yoga teacher and breath-work facilitator, with the body to kill for and a smile to die for.
“This is Art, a good friend of mine and as I saw him passing by, I had this inspiration yo add his teaching to our training.” I had no idea what we were going to do, but as I said already let down some of my defences earlier. We were invited to this concept of allowing the breath to continue in and out without pausing it. Just a steady flow of breath. Art’s comforting and professional attitude towards us helped to just give it a try.
What happened next was not something I anticipated, and that was an important part of it: it just took me by surprise. All my years of ninja-training, being ready for any attack, didn’t prepare me for this.
At first, because of the increase of oxygen, the body started to feel sweaty, restless, my limbs and mouth began to tingle and it felt like I was about to throw up; something I avoided throughout my life…throwing out what is actually poisonous…!
“Whatever happens, stay lying on your back and don’t hold your breath! Don’t tune out! Stay here!” Art reminded us throughout the session. Remember, Art didn’t plan this, he had no assistent or anything to help him. Of course our teacher was there, but he assisted on a different level.
Everything inside me didn’t want to be there. All of me wanted a way out. My mind was going crazy; how did I fall into this trap?!? I’ve been running away all my life, staying here will kill me!
Now this is important to know: This was my mind talking… Making me feel that I was dying, falling into hell, or whatever scenario would scare me more… This was my mind throwing everything at my Self to regain control. My mind was alive mainly through the high energy that is activated through fear, doubt, rage, guilt. It feeds on this bad energies, since they are so strong.
It’s not that my mind is an evil ghost, possessing me; it simply knows no better strategy to stay in control. Many parents, teachers, managers, use fear to keep their kids, students, employees under control. They just think that is what works best, not because they actually ‘hate’ the others. But on the other hand, it is a bit like being possessed: but then the entity inside thinks it is actually the person who it’s possessing…and the one being possessed forgot who it actually was…get it?
So, getting ready to step out of it, hoping i wasn’t too late to escape this madness, something inside me got encouraged by Art’s words. I don’t even know if these were his words, of that it came from somewhere else: “you have a choice now, go back to that prison you called life, and swallow all that poison again. Or you can be a warrior, and face it. No, it will not kill you, it will liberate you! Keep breathing, keep looking at what comes up, it is time now to throw away what is hurting you. Will you choose a prison, or will you choose freedom? You decide now!”
I decided to finally look back to what was haunting me. To face all the ugly demons, devils and rapists, bullies, men who took away mothers, lovers, darkness, filth, shame, guilt, hate…fear
I looked back and saw…
I started to laugh, cry, fall in love, dissolve. I was for the first time in my life allowing the happiness to just take me over. No darkness was there, no hate or demons.
As a small cloud in the sky can cast a huge shadow on the earth below, making it appear as something big, dark, all my fears were just dust in front of the sun. It was nothing.
I spend countless minutes just laughing, crying, shaking, until I couldn’t control the urge anymore to jump up, dance around and hugging everyone around me, beginning with Art and my teacher, as they were the ones guiding me to this.
How could I have been so stubborn, so afraid of that little cloud? Why have I been denying happiness to shine through? These questions still remain to be answered, but I also realised that it is not about answering these questions.
Questions come from the mind, trying to intellectually create structure into this beautiful chaos called life. Let me be mindless for a few minutes more, let me be blissfully clueless for a bit longer…
End of part II