PREPENT DAY 18
Elul 18 5775 – September 2 2015
Join me & Lab/Shul today, 9/2, at 2pm EST for a 45 free phone conversation about getting back on track to self into a brave and better new year. Details here:
“The first secret of singing is breathing. The second secret is that you are always surprised – I’m breathing! And your voice sails right out.”
In the past two years I’ve taken a few voice lessons to better prepare me for some of my public roles and to also connect to my body in a deeper way. I had one yesterday, in an unairconditioned studio on Broadway. Barbara, a NY institution, now in her 80’s, is a great teacher, with a twinkle in her eye and a lot of grand metaphors for how to open up and sing from within and relax and not stress vocal chords at all. “The third secret is to feel yourself held between two magnets, below and above. It’s true for singing and it’s true for life” she says, “it’s all about the breathing.” Banal truths sometimes need reminders. Do we breath enough, deeply enough, as often as is good for us?
“Take a deep breath” is associated with your doctor or a new age healing circle, and both meditation and medication do indeed get at the core of our well being. Breathing is perhaps the oldest and most common spiritual tool for grounding and opening and appreciating the mystery that we are part of, that we, in, and out, are always becoming.
Even atheists breath, sometimes as a spiritual practice. Sam Harris, writes in ‘Waking Up’ His guide to spirituality without religion:
“The word spirit comes from the Latin Spiritus, which is a translation of the Greek pneuma, meaning “breath.”
Around the thirteenth century, the term became entangled with beliefs about immaterial souls, supernatural beings, ghosts, and so forth…To walk the aisles of any “spiritual” bookstore is to confront the yearnings and credulity of our species by the yard, but there is no other term – apart from the even more problematic mystical or the more restrictive contemplative – with which to discuss the efforts people make, through meditation, psychedelics, or other means, to fully bring their minds into the present or to induce non ordinary states of consciousness. And no other word links this spectrum of experience to our ethical lives.”
The link between breathing and the spiritual path is evident in Hebrew. The word ‘neshima’ – breathing, is sister to the word ‘neshama’ – soul. Think of all that energy it takes to blow a shofar on these days of awe. All rests on our ability to breath.
Until we don’t anymore. Until we take our last breath.
Prepent 18. What can I do today to get back to my full self and sing my soul and be more gently present and helpful? Breathing as a spiritual act, as the basic trope of living, taking each breath with the surprise of discovery, knowing that each breach may be my last.
Join me & Lab/Shul today at 2pm EST for a 45 phone conversation about getting back on track to self into a brave and better new year. Details here: