Show me the path to enlightenment.
It just moved.
Breath is always moving.
Most of each day we're taking breaths. Rarely do we slow ourselves enough to enter and receive a breath. This next breath can be entered as one might enter a sanctuary.
Entering. AND. Receiving.
Yet, there remains one additional step: As I enter and receive, I also open to being received. I open to being welcomed. The Silence deeper than silence is Presence, One always waiting and always welcoming me home. It is here, in this quiet affection (one so many of us have no clue is possible) that I finally know peace.
I am lovable and loved, after all.
We all are.
Tenderness offered, tenderness finally received.
I've never been one who was particularly good at "living in the now." Even so, I've gradually built a capacity, during random moments each day, to be-with one tender breath (or two, or seven).
Entering this breath I receive this offered tenderness: deeper than thought, deeper than negative certainty; a sanctuary hidden-in-this-moment.
I'm less focused on my awareness of each breath and increasingly focused on reverence and gratitude for each breath. The shift is away from "being aware" or "self-soothing" (often just another version of "it's up to me") and simply toward entering and receiving and being received.
I now awaken each morning, pour a cup of tea, light a candle, and sit on my couch in Silence. Gone are the days of a more formal sitting posture (I continue to sit respectfully, yet comfortably). I say a brief prayer that admits my ongoing need, slow my breathing, allowing it to deepen just a bit, and enter the Tenderness I cannot own. Sometimes I silently breathe the word “Tender” or “Abba” or "Amma" or "Home." Sometimes I simply breathe.
Presence beyond all names,
I need more deeply than I can know.
I ask to be given what I most need.
Please be with any thought or memory
that tries to convince me I’m all alone.
Please heal what I have no power to heal.
Please fill me with your Tenderness.
Words, briefly. Then Silence.
Mother Teresa, when asked by an interviewer what she says to God when she prays answered: "I don't say anything. I just listen." When the interviewer asked what she hears God say, Mother Teresa replied: "God doesn't say anything. God just listens. And if you can't understand that I can't explain it to you."
Moments of meeting. Moments of shared tenderness. Nothing special. Absolutely essential.
. . . entering the Love that is more than our own.
I’m coming to trust this Presence we're each hardwired to know. My lens of learned absence ("forever empty") no longer runs my day. I have another option. This universe is different and kinder and more generous than my procedurally imbedded worldview would have ever believed.
Too good to be true? Or too true, simple, and hidden-in-plain-sight to fit my previously limited understanding of good?
In every moment, I am either agreeing with my procedural history or breathing within communion. So it is for many of us.
Standing outside a door, we believe we must find the key or, even worse, we are certain that no key exists.
The door was never locked.
Opening happens . . . with this tender breath.
Not only is the hidden heart of our universe deeply tender, it is surprisingly personal.
Presence in absence.
Postscript: Building a Daily Presence Practice
I want to honor your commitment to an eighty-seven minute experience and nothing more. That time has likely come and gone.
This means that eightysevenminutes.com ends here.
I have an aversion to sites that assume further contact is something we’re interested in. Hence, I want a clear demarcation between what I've presented in these chapters and another option that is available, but only to those who make the intentional choice to access it.
You have the choice to explore my interactive website, hiddenholding.com, should you be interested in:
- Options for building a daily practice (brief video instruction, readings, etc.).
- Periodic updates to the writing presented on this site, shared comments from readers, etc.
As was true with this site, the experience is gratis. Another small donation to someone in need would be fine, but not expected.
Thank you for being here now, whatever choice you make.
Here is a brief sample of what you will find:
I no longer believe that what we're lacking is additional information, more learning, better thinking. While sometimes helpful, our tendency to seek “more” is often an attempt to side-step our deeper experience of absence.
Said simply: I'd gladly trade 1,000 books and 11,000 new ideas for a Daily Presence Practice (10-30 minutes), one that continually deepens my roots within hidden holding. Truth be told, I'd trade nine remarkable ideas for a single, tender breath (8 seconds).
So, how might this look?
The blue line in the images above represents the breathing pattern shown in the last chapter, a restful, tender inhale and easy, restful exhale. (Approximately 4 counts on the in-breath and 4 counts on the out-breath; breathing into the belly, rather than into the chest. The emphasis is upon gentle breathing rather than deep breathing.)
The above image depicts our two-dimensional world, with the new option of breathing from the grounding resource of a hidden dimension (AND).
Breathing from this dimension into our Level One strategies and Level Two negative certainty is how transformation can happen.
Only this: tender breath . . . tender breath . . . tender breath.
My original meditation teacher in the early 1970's, Allan Hunter, would say "Breathe and wait." He was essentially saying, "Don't be expecting something new or special when you're meditating. Don't go looking for profound experiences or new insights. Just be faithful to your daily practice and pay close attention through your day to the shifts and changes in your life.” Other than feeling calmer, accessing what we deeply need will likely not be a conscious experience during our time of meditation. Rather, it will show up in how our lives begin to transform: day by week by month by year.
Trust roots that move in dark soil. Blind, but not blindly.
This site was not designed to go viral. It was written to go dual. One AND one.
While you've been reading, there may have been several people who came to mind, people you hunch might find this experience useful. Connecting them to what is presented here is my hope.
By the way, if you also want to share this on a social media site, that's fine too. Who knows where this note-in-a-bottle might end up?
PDF version of eightysevenminutes:
All writing, unless otherwise attributed,
© Kent Hoffman- 2015