I am sitting here on the sofa with my laptop with a vague desire to write an essay, and not much is coming up, and so I am just writing what comes naturally to me. My dog Frankie is sleeping just to my right, and the rain ins falling in a steady downpour. It’s that heavy tropical rain that causes the pool to overflow. It is unrelenting. I have had quite a journey over the last couple of weeks. It feel surreal that so much has happened while so little has changed.
I have long held faith that it is the expansion of the consciousness that will be able to save the Earth, but really it is not the earth that needs saving, it is we who need saving. The Earth will continue its journey around the Sun for another 4 billion years regardless of whether we blow ourselves up. We may bring about a mass extinction as part of the process of our own demise, but look how many fabulous creatures rushed in to fill the void that the dinosaurs left after their time had passed. The void we leave will not last any longer.
The true battle we are waging right now is a battle of consciousness. There are so many forces that drive us through fear to see each other as separate from ourselves. In my experience, the news is a primary entry point into my mind. I am constantly being thrown off my center by the news. For others maybe it is social media, or maybe television. But for me it’s the news. Will Bolsanaro dispute the election results in Brazil? Did Qatar ban beer sales at the world cup? Is Zelensky going to draw us into World War III? What’s going to happen to our civil rights now that Roe v. Wade is in the trash bin of history? What is Elon Musk doing with Twitter? What is Bitcoin doing today?
Remember back in COVID when the Federal Government printed out checks for $1,900,000,000,000 and mailed them out to people? They did not actually create anything real in the world when they did this. Not so much as a single apple was created when those checks were signed and sent. Suddenly legions of “Bored Apes” had spending money and time on their hands, and so they invested the new money in Crypto and NFT’s and Meme Stocks, and then they lost all of that money when the whole thing turned out to be a Ponzi scheme, and so the money went back into the hands of the Wall Street Fat Cats, which is exactly where it was when the whole thing started. Next thing you know, it’s easy come, easy go, and we have to watch the big Orange loser dominate the News cycle for another two years. Those checks did not create anything, they simply captured our attention for a while.
Our attention shifted from COVID to the war in Ukraine to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. No doubt our attention will shift to the next cycle in short order. It does not really matter so much what the object of our attention is, as long as we feel anxious and divided. It does not really matter so much what we believe, as long as we divide ourselves into two roughly equal camps and hate the other side. We live in a world modeled after the Super Bowl. Think about it. Does Fox Television care whether you like the Patriots or the 49ers? Not so much, as long as you pick one side or the other and care a lot, then they have your attention for the Super Bowl.
There is such a battle going on for the control and occupation of our minds that we often lose touch with the simple truths that make us who we are and that give us our true peace and happiness. When we feel lost in the waves of the world of illusion, we can firm ourselves in the divine eternal presence that surrounds us all the time. We can anchor ourselves in what is real and in what matters. The Earth has been traveling for billions of years with our sister planets as our Sun streaks around the center of our galaxy. The next news cycle is nothing more than the brownian motion of our existence.
We had a beautiful Concentration the other day, and I shared a reading from the Gospel of Padrinho Sebastião in the middle of it. The basic theme of the reading was a reminder to stay centered on what is real in the divine truth and to not get carried away with the dramas and concerns of the world of illusion. “In the Sun, in the Moon, in the Earth, and in the Sea. I sought this truth and I know where it is….” that was the line from the hymn that was quoted in the reading. The divine truth is there for all of us to see, yet we get caught up in the world of illusion and forget our divine nature.
I have long admired how my wife Stephanie starts her day. She goes into her “she cave” and does a series of movements synchronized with prayers, then she draws a spread of tarot cards and writes in her journal and then she meditates for a little while. She starts just about every day with her ritual, and it sets up her frame of reference for the whole day.
I have been working with my coach and trainer to develop a similar practice based on the breath to center myself and restore my connection to what is real and divine in the world. The breath is where our spirit attaches to our material body. Think of this literally. You can manipulate your breathing, but you cannot stop it. Even if you manage to hold your breath long enough to lose consciousness, it will start up again automatically. This is the place where we have a choice, but also have no choice. Just like we are here alive and incorporated in our body. Most of us do not have the ability to decide to disincorporate from out bodies as a voluntary act. We are stuck here in that sense. But we do have a lot of free will about how we will conduct ourselves while we are here.
The same it is with the breath, isn’t it? We don’t have a choice about whether to breathe, but we have a lot free will about how we will breathe. And it is here that I have found a path to regaining my center.
For me the pattern that works the best is to breathe in for eight beats of my heart, hold for four beats, and then breathe out for eight more beats, being sure to expel the last bit of stale air on every exhalation. This comfortable rhythm of about three breaths per minute brings me back to my body and to my center.
And then I let my thoughts go to the Sun and the Moon and the Stars and to the Earth and the Wind and the Sea. I feel connected to the clockwork of the planets… Jupiter has passed its opposition, and the opposition of Mars is upon us. I love looking at the planets in the night sky, and it is Mars that is taking center stage right now. Just go outside in the evening and look to the east. Soon it will be straight over head at midnight.
In this practice of breathing and centering myself with these forces of divine nature, I can feel my parasympathetic nervous system taking over. I feel hope instead of anxiety. I feel that life is long instead of feeling that life is short. I feel that love comes from the divine and radiates through us to everything we gaze upon. And from this point, I can be the gate keeper to my own consciousness.
What are you going to let into your mind today?