Anyone who has ever achieved anything has focused and taken away their reluctance and what they achieved in is what they considered important. Priority is the breath: the priority is understanding that today you are alive no matter what is happening in the world around you or in your own mind: here you are.
Breath: know that there is nothing to fear in the breathe and very rarely is there anything to fear in the present moment.
Conversation with Buddha and Zoe: Teaching the World to Breathe
Buddha: Zoë, let’s teach the world to breathe.
Readers, close your eyes and take a deep breathe and another and another. Now, opening your eyes, what were you aware of when you breathed? One nostril is always more dominant at any one time than another. Which nostril of yours had the best free flow of air in and out of the body? If you cannot answer this question, shut your eyes once more and take a couple of deep breathes again and see if you can feel which one is which.
If you haven’t been able to sense this may I ask you to close off one nostril and breathe in and breathe out, then close off the other nostril and breathe in and breathe out and your answer will be apparent.
Now I wish you to focus on the breath, taking a strong breath and with this strong breath we wish you to focus on strengthening the body: breathing in and out. Now picture me in your minds eye in front of you and breathe strengthening, breathe and focus on me. If your mind wanders, which I expect it will, bring it back to me and the strengthening breath and focus on this. Focus on this for a long as it takes until your mind wanders, then focus on it once more, do this three or four times. For some of you this may be a second for some of you this may be a minute. Regardless repeat this process three times and lets get you breathing strength and vitality into your bodies. Enjoy this process and know that I will be with you.
Background to Conversation with Buddha and TMichael on Smoking Cigarettes
Note from TM: This topic may be a bit off from the typical spiritual topics we talk about, but it’s one that I have been wondering about for some time from a spiritual perspective. Many people I know, including myself, have struggled with trying to quit smoking cigarettes. We all know about the health issues associated with smoking, yet continue. Is there an understanding about smoking cigarettes that could help people quit?
Master Buddha: It’s a good topic because it bridges the material and spiritual realms. On the purely physical level smoking cigarettes is well known to create a physical addiction. That is not so difficult to understand or accept.
It weakens the breath capacity and reduces the nutrients that can be carried by the blood. Additionally, it carries with it potentially harmful chemicals throughout the body. This is the part that is established. Just a small amount of common sense can grasp this and say that it is not necessary to smoke cigarettes to achieve good health and that to the contrary it degrades health.On the emotional and mental levels other addictions are at work. Smoking also creates an illusion of power. And this is much harder to give up than the physical addiction. Power can mean different things to different people, but I mean it I the sense that one feels powerful to do whatever one needs to do. If one feels weak in some way, he will compensate by finding some way to feel powerful. This is why so many people begin smoking as a teenager—a time in which a great sense of weakness is experienced. Others experience the attraction to smoking during emotionally upsetting moments. Still others enjoy smoking when they are drinking alcohol (this is more complicated because the source of weakness is not so apparent).
It should be obvious that real power is not gained from smoking cigarettes, but that is exactly what makes it a illusion. For those who derive power from it, it is real, and thus an effective illusion.
There is a proverb that states, “The best way to eliminate is to substitute”. In order to do this in a way that supports substituting real understanding for an illusion, one must understand that the apparent weakness for which the illusion is compensating, can be addressed through self-awareness and contemplation. Some people, when quitting smoking, will substitute another substance or activity that supplies the power they seek. This could be substituting one illusion for another; perhaps one that is less harmful in other ways. The real benefit will come from a true understanding of the weakness perceived in the first place, and then proceed to cure it. Some people can make the behavioral change without this deeper understanding I’m speaking of, and for them this is a success. For others it requires the deeper contemplation and cure. Most likely the underlying feeling of impotence, or weakness, is affecting them in other ways as well and this approach will be more helpful.
The worst thing that can happen is for one to come from an approach of judgment, self-loathing, guilt, shame or anger at oneself. Be gentle with yourself as you begin to unravel the complexities that lead to behavior that is inherently harmful. At one point, however erroneous, the smoking habit derived from an intent to cope by providing a power that compensated for a weakness. Seeing that error in choice and seeking a new one confirms self-love and care.
Buddha: We wish to speak to you today about extremes. Because extremes move in different ways from a perceived central point, are they any different? No. To clarify, if one is looking to get fit, becoming a couch potato could be extreme, exercising for five hours a day could be perceived as extreme. Are they any different? While the behaviors of a couch potato person and someone who is exercising five hours a day may seem radically different, extremes are extremes.
People who move into extreme behaviors are cut off from their center, so, although we are speaking about extremes, we are actually speaking about those who are devoid of center.
At Wimbledon, the most prestigious court is center court. I like this! One of the best thing or compliments that can be given to a person is that they are centered. Would you trust someone more or less if you described them as centered? Would it be easier to love someone more or less if they were centered?
Humans were designed to be centered yet many spend their lives rushing around in extremes. What do I mean? I mean that ‘centered’ means feeling strong, feeling safe and sound within your own being. How many people actually spend time practicing this within their day-to-day activities? Equally, as there are so few people who practice feeling centered, there are also fewer people who exist in their center; center is all there is.
I ask that all readers find their center. How do you know where your center is? It’s the mind state that makes you feel ‘centered’. I try not to play with words. Sometimes I resist the opportunities to play with minds other times I don’t. The irony is that it is the mind that takes one out of ones center! But let’s not toy here.
To get into your center stop, breathe. You can still do all that you need to do in your day-to-day activities. You can go to work, be at work, come home from work, cook, sleep: centered. You can wake up the children, feed the children, take the children to school, get on with your daily chores, collect the children, feed the children, feed yourself: being centered. Or you can become un-centered and end up in extremes whereby you are in a rush to get to work, rush to complete your work, rush to get home, rush to cook, rush to get to bed. Similarly you can become lost in the chores or lose you own center by focusing on the children’s centers. Are the children fine, are the children fed, are the children ready are the children this, are the children that? These are extremes. I will speak about child rearing at a different time for now it is suffice to say if you are lucky enough to be raising children physically, then be aware- as they say on the airlines, fit your own oxygen mask before you fit that of the child’s. In this case center yourself. A centered parent will raise centered children: simple as that.
So this is your message today from the center to the center, saying find your center. How do you do that? Stop, breathe, be present. Once you have this go about your day to day activities and you will be successful. Success follows center. Spend a minute now thinking about how mundane tasks feel when you’re centered and how mundane tasks feel when you’re not. Similarly think about a big event. How does a big event feel when you’re centered and how does a big event feel when you’re not.
This exercise itself should conclude the importance to you of being centered at all times.
Conversation with Buddha and Zoe: Uniting with the Body Using Breath
Buddha: Today we are going to focus on respiration: in and out. Why have so many of my teachings, and those who have followed me, focused on the breath? Firstly, as everyone is aware, breathing happens with or without you. Secondly, when you consciously engage your breath you are consciously engaging with the state of being that is happening whether you are aware of it or not. This is one of the easiest, and always the most successful, way of being in the present moment. You cannot escape your breath for breathing is happening to you. But when you join with what is happening to you and offer no resistance, then oneness is developed. There is nothing quite like this. There need be no association with thought. So observation of breath and conjoining of being is my favorite tool for teaching people to become still and whole.
After a few breaths the system becomes energised. Energised not only from the oxygen it has been breathing, but from the release of energy that happens when one becomes present in any given moment. By being conscious of the breath, conscious and conjoining with what is happening and offering no resistance, a huge energy release is borne. It’s akin to a star burst. This is you, one, in ones full potential in any given time simply by being aware of the breath conjoining with being, activating energy. It is from here and only here that transcendental states can be reached.
And what is the message? The message is that one does not ever escape the body to achieve greater levels of spirituality. One doesn’t ever go anywhere else than where one is to achieve greater levels of spirituality. One simply stops, observes the breathes, star burst happens, and the transcendental experience can take place. Simple isn’t it?
In my life as Buddha, I tried everything I had ever heard of to achieve greater levels of spirituality, to reach nirvana. I tried everything that meant leaving the body, in some ways looking back now, killing the body. I also had had from my previous times experiences of indulging the body and all the body was doing was being! Simply responding to what I did with it. If I ate it would digest it, if I drank it would absorb, if I fell it would bruise, if I laughed it chortled. What a close relationship you have people, spiritual beings, with your body. This is something never to be overlooked, but something to be nurtured. This is your best friend. Look after it, but more importantly be one with it through oneness with it. The star burst happens the transcendental state can take place. Care not for what it looks like only its levels of health. If something needs fixed or restored work towards that goal in whichever way you know how. Do not criticise and judge it for being something that it is not, for it is and your development will happen through your uniting with the body, not from desecrating it for it being not something that is a construct of the mind.
So for all of you breathe, enjoy, relax, come and meet me [Buddha laughs].
Buddha: What you’ve to understand is that all is here. All is neither waiting nor ready, it simply is. This is what can be tapped into. You have been fed information about slipstream and how all exists within the slipstream below the level of conscious thought. By bringing consciousness to the fore, thought becomes secondary, and an awareness of slipstream becomes primary. Now what happens in slipstream? Different ways of being: you simply are; it simply is. All is expansion; all is contraction. All is resonance and all resonates with the beat of God. It is within this slipstream that you can tap into being one with nature; but even nature is another level to be moved through.
For, as thought presides over consciousness, for many of you nature presides over reality. Reality, I hear you say, isn’tthat the domain of conscious thought? There is a truth, there is a harmony, there is an equinanimous resonance deeper than all of that. As deep as the deepest part of the sea, as wide as the widest part of space: yet it is neither space nor sea, but existing beyond form and beyond the levels of form.
Within this reality, within this stream, you will meet me. We will talk again.
So we all exist, all of us, as one but in the slipstream below the level of conscious thought. I say below for we are always there underneath the conscious thought. The conscious thought is like the interference on the television screen of old that becomes all absorbing. Imagine a person who, rather than watching the screen, begins to watch the interference around the side of the screen, and so misses the main show. This is what’s happening. The main show is missed. To some extent this has always been. However, there is more at stake within your world at the moment. Hence, my return.
So I say that we are all here existing below the level of conscious thought for if you take away conscious thought and begin to breathe, “da-da” there we are! (I do have great humor Zoe and I like to use it.)
So what do you need to do to become mindful of the show? Breathe: simple as that. This has been heard many times before and it will be heard many times after this has been recorded and typed.
Breathing, breathing, when one is conscious of breathing and one opens ones eyes life is simply happening; it just is. In this case Zoe as you have opened your eyes there are birds flying in the trees, the clouds are moving across the sky, there is traffic on the road nearby, in the reflection in the window you can see the palm trees waving in the wind. This is all simply happening; it is all simply being. Now if you were to become involved in the interference of your mind where would this go? Nowhere! It simply would continue to happen without you noticing it and what would you have missed? You would have missed being in the present in your own life. So what is the price of this? For many there is no question, the price is too high. But others choose to become involved in the interference and we move on to the subject, Zoe that we have been making you aware of, the pursuit of pleasure.
How do you feel Zoe opening your eyes, breathing?
MB: Yes, are you concerned?
MB: Are you worried?
MB: Are you desiring?
Z: No, not even that cup of tea.
MB: Simply by breathing and opening the eyelids. Isn’t that amazing? Now let’s put you into a different situation Zoe. Let’s put you into a busy office. Imagine one where the phones are ringing, people are talking, there’s artificial light, there is work in front of you, your in-tray is bigger than your out-tray. Imagine you sitting in this situation at your desk and picture yourself breathing and opening your eyes. How do you feel?
MB: What is happening around you?
MB: Do you have any desires in that moment?
MB: Now let’s move you into a different situation- one that my forefathers are said to have experienced. Let’s put you into the middle of a battle zone. Open your eyes and breathe.
Z: Don’t know if I could do that Buddha.
MB: What would you be doing if you couldn’t do that?
Z: I would be looking around me to see if anyone is going to kill me. I wouldn’t feel I was capable of relaxing or switching off my adrenaline system. I feel I would need the heightened reality to live.
MB: Ok, what would it take for you to breathe? A God to visit you?
MB: You know the story Zoe and I know the story too. There are times when the human system is built for dealing with such stress, such chaos, and such heightened senses of the need to survive. You have, after all, evolved from the animal kingdom where this is a highly necessary part of their reality. To switch off your sensory system may involve in your own death.
Background to A Prayer from Maitreya with TMichael
TMichael: This meditation was given to me many years ago by Maitreya. After reciting it daily since then I have just begun to understand its significance and meaning to me. Prayer and meditation are often emblematic of the mystery of life, subjective and personally revealing in their own way and time. Please receive this prayer in that spirit.
Love in Abundance
With every breath that I breathe in I receive love in abundance, and
With every breath that I breathe out I send love in abundance into the world,
I am filled with love in abundance.
As I receive love in abundance I use my courage, truthfulness, goodness and beauty to enhance its value for the benefit of all.
I follow the path of love and wisdom.
I am grateful for all that I receive in love in abundance,
And I am grateful for all that I share with others.
I am that I am and thus receive the blessings of love in abundance.