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A Happy Experience

September 18, 2015

I’ve been practicing yoga, in my old age, for a bit more than a year, and I’ve had three, especially encouraging, experiences in classes . One happened a couple days ago. I wrote about it in a letter to my teacher, who now becomes a character, as I add it to the narration:

“Ciao J,

First, thanks again for this morning’s class—the sequence was very good for me, and flowed quite well, and the music was good to have.

So, this experience might simply be ordinary for long-time yoga practioners, but it was extraordinary for me.

To begin with, I’ve been “thinking’ lately about mindfulness and breathing, and the other day I posted this page of my novel:

I’ve also been thinking, for a long time, about life among our ancestors, 30- or 40,000 years ago. Sometimes I have experiences of what seem to me to be remnants of their life, extant today. Fortunate glimpses.

So during class today my intention, which I pretty much kept with me, was to practice along with the motions of the universe (my intention always is oneness with being). Along with that, my breathing went well throughout class. Then during savasana, I sent my breath into vast space, which I suspect is relatively easy to do because of all the NASA photos. Possibly I was also helped by having my feet up the wall, lowering my blood pressure.

But then I sent my breath out into time. First it went forward, but then it went back, and reached out to one of my ancestors, a young woman giving birth (successfully, obviously, or I wouldn’t be here to send my breath back to her).

Within an image of members of our family around her supportively, including singing and swaying and helping her breath, I gave my breathing to her. And I said encouraging words to her, as she labored, assuring her that she could do this. My breathing became increasingly synchronized with her breathing—not that it was her breathing but that I was beside her breathing with her. I encouraged her to relax, as I relaxed, and her birthing became easier, and progressed well. Lying there, I felt my entire body conform to her posture, including “involuntarily” spreading my legs (the obvious thing to do) along the wall and extending my arms; and then my fingers spread and reached out as far as possible, as the baby was emerging from her body. And just as it emerged, I heard your bell, in a soft, prolonged tone.

That was really nice. I felt quite alive and well, warmed, emotionally and physically.

Now, birthing is accompanied by extraordinary pain, and I didn’t feel any of that. I wasn’t giving birth, rather it seemed to me that my breath was there with her, and so I was able to be there with her and attend to her in her birthing.

(The way we can attend to the soul, being with it, caring for it—and so it gives us these images.)

This did not happen with my “thinking it” to happen. It was a waking dream, engaging my entire being in participation. It was a Big Dream, similar to one that I had in my sleep, a year ago.

This can happen, and should happen, I believe, to everyone. It should not be extraordinary. It just is. It’s our body and our breath.

So again, many thanks, for helping make that experience possible for me.”

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