Just Breathe

“Breathe.” Teacher’s voice, warm like chocolate, soothes us into a meditation he’s leading today. After kicking off his worn purple Jordan’s, he pads around us in his funky blue and purple spotted socks, checking to make sure we’ve all closed our eyes. I haven’t.

“Writer.”

BUSTED.

Teacher tones his voice back to its mesmerizing charm, then, “Please close your eyes. How are you going to be able to concentrate inward if you’re still outward?”

With the smile that admits my guilt, I close my eyes again, focusing on the soothing ocean sounds coming from a seaside that’s never been there before.

“Breathe, my students. Concentrate on the flow of the tide as it washes onto the beach. Slowly.”

A tide rolls in, splashes with a roar, then pulls back timidly.

“Now, breathe.”

“What’s the point of all this, Teach?” Our trustworthy Irreverent Student breaks the deathly-still silence. Some of our classmates shush him.

Across the room, Teacher releases a long breath as if to keep himself steady, then he says nothing, letting the ocean take control of the moment.

“Let yourself match the vibration of the ocean, of the earth.” His voice continues slow and methodical, as if trying to seduce us with his words. “We are one with our planet, with the animals and the plants, with the ocean and the streams. We are never alone now. Feel the vibration of the earth pulsating through you.”

His voice moves around the room. Chairs move, classmates shuffle. I wonder what’s going on, but I do what I’ve been told. I focus on my breath.

“Now, breathe, again. This time, hold your breath, one –

“Two, –

“Three, and release, slowly until there is no air left and you have to breathe again,” he holds us like that, then, “Now, breathe.”

From the seat next to me, Irreverent’s patience is waning again. “What’s this all about, sir?”

I hear the shuffling of feet, then a hand reaches for mine and joins it with Irreverent’s before moving on around the room.

“Please continue holding hands as I talk,” Teachers says.

He leads us into a world than is neither here nor there. Then, when he’s satisfied, he brings us back, retracing our steps until, finally, “You can open your eyes now.”

Around the room, not a person is alone, even Clyde who, as the newbie, likes to sit all the way in the back. Teacher had magically moved Hope’s chair closer to him.

“Now, I want you all to surrender to the moment. You are not nervous, you are not uncomfortable, you are not alone. You have just been at the beach, my dears. Continue that peace.”

Teacher walks closer to me and Irreverent.

“And before you ask, my dear Irreverent, by surrender I mean let yourself go. Release the headaches of this world. Forget about due dates and expectations. Forget about shoulda’s, too, as in ‘I shoulda done that’.”

He stands in front of us. He seems to study us, me in particular.

“There is no place for self-doubt here. Believe in yourselves as much as I believe in you. You have matched Earth’s vibrations. You are no longer a threat to yourselves. You are free to move along, to move ahead, to transition. But you must have faith. Because, without faith, you are your own worst enemy.

“Understand?”

A smattering of yesses rolls around the room, but I can’t lie.

“No, sir. I’m confused. How do we know that what we’re doing in meditation, the things we hope will help us move forward and closer to our goal. How do we know we’re doing it right?”

“Oh, my dear Writer.” He shuffles as he walks toward me, dribbling a purple basketball that just appeared. “You need to get your head out of the game. That’s what’s holding you back.”

As he explains, he bounces the ball from one hand to the next, then he dribbles it again.

“What did I tell you to do before you opened your eyes?”

Then, with no warning, he shoots the basketball toward me, but it’s not shooting. Time has slowed and the ball is moving frame by frame like an 8mm home movie.

I have time to think.

What did he say? The ball’s headed right at my face. I should catch it, but he said not to let go of Irreverent’s hand, didn’t he? Yes, he did. But I probably won’t be able to dodge the ball. It’ll smack me in the nose. Flatten it. I know it will.

Stop.

I have to get my head out of the game, he said. What part of all of this is because of my over-thinking? What am I supposed to do? Well, if this were real-time, I would have tried to catch the ball because that’s that natural self-preservation thing. That’s a shoulda.

Instead, I stare the ball down.

A loud clap stops the ball an inch from my nose.

“Why are you not catching it?” Teacher asks after my classmates’ gasps have settled down.

The answer is so obvious. “You told me not to let go of Irreverent’s hand.”

“Hmm.” He strokes his imaginary goatee. “Why did you think that was the right answer?”

“You told us to match the vibration, to get our head out of the way, and to forget about the shoulda’s. So I did.” I look at the ball, still menacingly close. “And you stopped it.”

He nods, covering his mouth with his hand as he walks around the room. “You think it was the correct thing to do because –”

“Because my first reaction to everything is always wrong, as far as your lessons are concerned.”

“Everything? I beg to differ.”

“No, I mean.” I breathe deeply again, trying to find a way to explain. “I was raised to always do what was expected of me. But, right now, I did what I would never do. I let go of the shoulda’s.” I didn’t think I had the answer, but now I can’t stop explaining.

“I believe in you, Teacher, and, more than that, I believe in myself. You’ve taught me to trust that little part of me that is never based on logic or facts. I knew that no matter what happened I would be fine because inside, in my gut, it was the right thing to do. I knew I would be safe with you.” I don’t even question my all-encompassing faith that most logical minds would be unwilling to trust.

I move my head to look for my teacher. His eyes lock onto mine and I see something I’ve never noticed before – eyes so crystal blue and spellbinding that I forget where I am.

I’m no longer in the classroom. I’m in a place that cannot be described, and there’s a warm, golden energy wrapping itself around me.

“I was right.” My voice is hushed and he nods.

UPDATE: August 2019

I’ve wondered about Writer’s choice when faced with that ball. I haven’t been able to rectify her decision to stand strong in her faith that day; after all, most would call her an idiot when faced with this obvious threat. Why didn’t she duck or use her other hand to deflect?

I understand now, I think. It’s all metaphor for something else. Doesn’t everything represent a fractal of itself?

Then I was led to the Bible.

As the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians, 2:20,

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

At some point in my lessons, I have learned that the Ego who protects the Body can get in the way. I have learned to allow myself to relax in the knowledge that, in spite of the reality that threatens me, The Christ protects those who have true Faith in Him.

It may not make sense to you, my readers, but in the world where my Teacher was the Dragonfly, I knew I was safe.

I am at Peace in that Knowing.

The Dragonfly’s Student

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