Okay, so I’m still trying.
I may not be doing as well as I’d like on this, but I haven’t quite given up. Enlarging my spiritual life is very important to me, so even a little bit of improvement is worth the effort. I’m still managing to pray at least three times a day, though, I’d really like to be praying four times, like the The One Year Manual suggests. In any case, I finally made myself read the exercise for the month. So here it is…
Rythmic breathing. A simple extension of the first two exercises, really. It’s just what it sounds like, breathing in a even, rythmic pattern. Oddly enough, this one is easy for me. I’ve been “into” Zen for quite a while and rythmic breathing is one of the basic building blocks there, too. So, it’s basically just breath in for a certain count and then breath out for the same count. Regardie suggests using a mantra as an aid. Interestingly enough, he suggests, for the Christian, “My Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” So, it would be inhale saying, mentally, “My… Lord… Jesus… Christ…” and exhale while saying, mentally, “have… mercy… on… me…” Now, I wish I’d read this sooner, because rythmic breathing I can not only do, but really get into. It’s very, very relaxing.
In fact, several years ago, I read Science of Breath, which is a book on nothing but breathing techniques used by the Yogis. It’s a fascinating book, really, and one I need to read again. I remember using techniques from this book to completely calm my heart-rate and breathing in just seconds after marching up several flights of stairs. And, I remember the stilling calmness I would get from just a few moments of rythmic breathing when I was feeling even the slightest anxiety.
Well, slowly but surely I march ever forward on the Path.