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Taking a Leap Out of Fast-Forward

April 9, 2009

Esalen--View of Hot Tubs & Ocean

Esalen--View of Hot Tubs & Ocean

I’m off to Esalen Institute in Big Sur CA on Sunday (April 12) to lead my five-day Free Your Breath, Free your Life retreat. This will be my ninth five-day retreat at Esalen, including a couple of Harmonic Awakening retreats I’ve done with my good friend David Hykes.

Though the retreat this year will explore some safe, natural, and powerful ways to open up our breathing, the underlying aim of the retreat is awakening to our real nature–being present to who and what we really are with the help of the breath.

To understand the implications of this aim it is imperative to see that so many of us live our lives in fast-forward, attempting to escape the pain, discomfort, anxiety, uncertainty, messiness, or boredom of the present moment by dwelling on something in the future that we believe will bring us meaning and happiness. When we are honest with ourselves, however, we see that the future always arrives now, which we are constantly trying to escape, and that so much of our life is spent fast-forwarding and never really being where we actually are.

The breath can be a tremendous help here, as I describe in The Tao of Natural Breathing and Free Your Breath, Free Your Life, as well as in my new book (due out in the next couple of weeks) Breathe Into Being: Awakening To Who You Really Are. For we are always being breathed now. And the breath of life that enlivens us arises from and returns to the unknown.

Perhaps you can take a moment right now to notice the miracle of your own breath–the aliveness that it brings. This noticing will help bring you back into Now, the only time that actually exists. You may notice as you pay attention that this Now is much bigger than the now that you habitually rush through. It is at least big enough to include both your out-breath and your in-breath–and much more as you begin to be called to the living experience of presence. But it takes a leap to be present to the miracle of being, a leap out of the the mindset that always thinks it knows what the next step, the future, is or should be.

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