Exploring breath has been so thematic in my life lately that it was such sacred timing to be asked to record a song about breath as life written by Leah Tolentino and arranged by Yeyette San Luis for GINHAWA's upcoming CD about healing the self and the earth. I am so grateful to both of them for entrusting one of their beautiful co-created songs.
At the heart of every inhale and exhale, the heart of mediation is the awareness of breath.
This has been my saving grace, my light saber, my sword of light for the last few months. From panic attacks to a break down at the airport after missing my flight, to so many sleepless nights, I couldn't have survived this far without the practice of conscious breathing.
|exploring studio recording!|
I'm supposed to be on the 5th day of my 10-day Vipassana meditation course today. I have postponed this opportunity for 3 years, putting my work for peace in Mindanao first. Recently, because of major transitions, the need to detach and be in full battle gear with my inner work, I informed all my work commitments and let go of job offers to make time for this particular inner journey.
Its not something new. I have been on an inner journey for the longest time. I've been burning through spiritual intimacy ever since I can remember.
I can still clearly see myself reading through an entire entry on God on the World Book Encyclopedia when I was 9 from my Lola's library on top of her glass dining table. I could still feel my heartbeat after waking up in the middle of the night alone in my apartment as a university student, with the strangest ache after being touched by some mysterious force. I can still remember the crunch and softness of the grass and soil as I danced on the lawn in front of the office after downloading all the energies absorbed during the rally for peace last Friday.
I have been exploring meditation since I was 18 and tried Raj, Zen, and mantra styles. But as I grew older, it didn't really matter what approach you take, it all boils down to a breath, a sit, and an open mind and heart.
Last night, I had a dream about selling my book The Tenth Insight by James Redfield. When I woke up, I remembered that I bought this book way back in 2000 after reading the Celestine Prophecy with the intention of reading it. I was 17 then and I remember experimenting with energy with my two hands and actually saw smoke. It brought me back to a visit to China as a teenager and seeing a Chinese healer stomp through the ground with a scream with his hands with smoke coming out of it. Now 11 years after, I am prompted to read the sequel for the first time which is about the evolution of humanity. Talk about sacred timing as a write an article for the Pacifica Journal about Van James' recent retreat workshop on the evolution of human consciousness through art.
I can remember my first meditation. Thinking about it now, maybe it was the book that inspired me to explore it. I was just by myself and I researched how to meditate online and printed the steps to guide me. I woke up at the wee hour of the morning, made some tea, and made my first sit in the garden.
Fast forward to 11 years after, on the day of registration and arrival at Sico farm for Vipassana, I sat in the garden, made deep breaths, and typed in my gratitude and regrets that I could not go.
I could not go yet I was equanimous - the word and virtue that mindfulness teaches, that every meditator should learn and embody.. With barely a month to prepare, I knew clearly I had lots to do for the Mindanao Week of Peace and my own art actions for the World Day of Action and Prayer for Children.
But one of the the constants in all Hero/Heroine' Journey, is when you question the What If's. If I was on a strict spiritual path, any worldly matter is a form of attachment. Was I attached to my identity as an artist for peace? I asked myself. "Who am I without this war, without the need for peace in the world?"
Discovering the answer continues to be an ongoing process.
I was just at an All Out Peace Rally for Mindanao yesterday and was very much inspired to design creative ways for a major rally/walk towards the end of the month along with some community art actions. I was in the middle of the street, in the middle of Muslims and Christians engaging in an interfaith action to make the call for peaceful actions to recent clashes in Mindanao, and most of all to to prevent another war. I was right there, in the middle of action, the heat of the sun, and the uncertainty whether the peace talks will finally find accord or not. In all the noise, and the swimming in a sea of energies, one really needs to be rooted and centered.
I climbed up the walkpath to see a bird's eye view of the whole event, and felt a sense of peace. With an exhale, I sent my gratitude to that deep connection with everything that helped us weave one collective breath of hope...
The truth is, part of my need to take the 10-day retreat is to be able to reveal to the people I love all that has happened to me since childhood and where it has led me and how it has led me to my present soul work, send the heartbreaking email, and then escape out to a farm to meditate. Maybe all this is telling me is to really face myself and them, and not run away.
This reflection continues.