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Allowing Pain In

I  am becoming water: I let everything rinse its grief in me And reflect as much light as I can. – Mark Nepo The Buddhist call to breathe in the suffering of the world and breathe out light seems important right now. It is important right now because these are dark times in need of […]

Clear Water drop with circular waves
Clear Water drop with circular waves

I  am becoming water:

I let everything rinse its grief in me

And reflect as much light as I can. – Mark Nepo

The Buddhist call to breathe in the suffering of the world and breathe out light seems important right now.

It is important right now because these are dark times in need of great light. It is important right now because it acknowledges the transforming love that lives within each of us. It is important because we are all called to sit in silence, despair, overwhelm, and indifference and asked to see something else. It is important right now because we must stay connected to life’s ebb and flow and maintain soft hearts even, and perhaps especially, when it hurts.

One of my favorite church hymn refrains is, “When I breathe in, I breathe in peace; when I breathe out, I breathe out love.”

I learned it in church years ago, but sing it whenever and wherever I need it today. Peace washes over me with each repetition. Cleansing, healing, and calming happen. Connection, release, and communion happen. When I sing it I remember the songs of strength and healing I know in my bones. When I sing it I see something different than the suffering of the world. When I sing it I don’t feel scared and powerless and alone.

Breathing allows pain in.

Breathing sets a spiritual alchemy into motion in which pain becomes peace, confusion becomes clarity, and darkness becomes light. That is how it works. The simple act of breathing, repeated mindfully again, and again, and again, changes us for the better. Always. Yoga teaches that the postures are pathways to breath. That makes sense to me. Years have taught me the only way not to fall, and to fully experience each posture, is to surrender and simply breathe. That is the way down deep power that we all have: the universal blessing of love. That is the source of healing and change. That is the source of strength and courage. In allowing the pain in we are healing ourselves. In allowing peace to flow in and through us we are love.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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