What will you gather?

As this is written we are about to reach the December solstice, and shortly after that we will celebrate the New Year – both moments that strongly evoke the ever-turning cycle of life. All of nature moves in rhythms and pulses : the alternation of day and night, the rising and falling of the tides, the turning of the stars, the cycle of the seasons, and the birth and death of all creatures, from the long-lived mighty oak tree to the brief human who sits beneath the tree in meditation. Of all the complex, interweaving cycles, perhaps the one that is most important to us, and most neglected, is that of our own breath. There is a popular urge now to return to nature, but we need not wander into the wilderness to do so – we only need to listen to the ebb and flow of our own breathing. In our breath, for example, we can find the place where limitation meets perfection, where Divine will allows liberty for the human will. The cycle of our inhalation and exhalation is ordained by the Creator, but when we draw breath to sing a song, for example, we recognize that Providence gives a certain latitude for our personal will.

When we study breath from a mystical point of view, we see that everything begins with contraction. The very first breath of every baby is an inhalation, a drawing inward; we pull into ourselves and concentrate what we need – the light and life of breath, in preparation for the expansion of the out-breath. And expansion is the end of every breath, since every person exhales when life departs from the frame of the body.

Although we seldom give it any thought, the coming New Year will begin with a single breath, and if we wish to consecrate our life to some spiritual ideal, we could ask ourselves, in that moment what do we want to draw in? What do we want to gather together for the cycle we are beginning? We are a point in an infinite sea of being – from all that vastness what do we wish to pull toward ourselves? Light? Power? Beauty? Love? Life? Or something else?  And what do we wish to spread in the subsequent exhalation? Readers might want to keep this concentration on their breath until the New Year begins, reminding themselves of what they hope to receive from the Infinite on the in-breath, and what they hope to offer on the out-breath.

If we invest this concentration with enough attention, we may step into the New Year while discovering in ourselves that which Hazrat Inayat Khan describes in this saying from Vadan Alankaras:
My ears closed to the disturbing noise of the world,
My eyes turned from all
that was calling me on the Way,
My heart beating the rhythm
of my ever-rising aspiration,
And my blazing soul guiding me on the path,
I made my way through the space.

3 Replies to “What will you gather?”

  1. Sharifa

    Thank you, Nawab, for these beautiful thoughts and suggestion for the coming weeks.

    Wishing you and your loved ones an inspiring Christmas time and many blessings for the year to come.
    Sharifa (The Netherlands)

    • Nawab Pasnak Post author

      Thank you, dear Sharifa, for the kind thoughts and good wishes. Also wishing blessings of every kind for you and for your dear ones. With loving greetings, Nawab


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