The Breath Inside The Breath

Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.

My shoulder is against yours.

You will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms,

Nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:

Not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own neck,

Nor in eating nothing but vegetables.

When you really look for me, you will see me instantly —

You will find me in the tiniest house of time.

Kabir says: Tell me, what is God?

God is the breath inside the breath.



The Wisdom of No Escape

The central question of our training is not how we avoid uncertainty and fear but how we relate to discomfort.  How do we practice with difficulty, with our emotions, with the unpredictable encounters of an ordinary day?  For those of us with a hunger to know the truth, painful emotions are like flags that going up to say, “you’re stuck!”  We regard disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, jealousy, and fear as moments that show us where we’re holding back, how we’re shutting down.  Such uncomfortable feelings are messages that tell us to perk up and lean into a situation when we’d rather cave in and back away.

When the flag goes up, we have an opportunity:  we can stay with our painful emotion instead of spinning out.  Staying is how we get the hang of gently catching ourselves when we’re about to let resentment harden into blame, righteousness, or alienation.  It’s also how we keep from smoothing things over by talking ourselves into a sense of relief or inspiration.  This is easier said than done.

Ordinarily we are swept away by habitual momentum.  We don’t interrupt our patterns even slightly.  With practice, however, we learn to stay with a broken heart, with a nameless fear, with the desire for revenge.  Sticking with uncertainty is how we learn to relax in the midst of chaos, how we learn to be cool when the ground beneath us suddenly disappears.  we can bring ourselves back to the spiritual path countless times every day simply by exercising our willingness to rest in the uncertainty of the present moment – over and over again.

From Comfortable With uncertainty by Pema Chodron