Listen to your body as it breathes.
So I did one day. More carefully than usual.
First, I did some early morning Hatha Yoga. Sun salutations, triangle side bends, spinal twists. Pranayama, the breath of life.
Then, I sat down right where I was and whispered the morning Shema (Deut 6:4-9).
In rhythm with my breath. Spontaneously, that’s how it sorted itself out.
Seven phrases, seven breaths.
Each time I breathed in, I reflected on a phrase.
Some phrases name a part of the body. So, for those, I felt my breath touch the body part. Expand it, stretch it, emphasize it. Keep its chakra energy spinning.
Other phrases talk about Spirit, about God. So, for those, I simply breathed and let Spirit fill me. Yes, Hebrew sometimes uses the same word for breath and spirit. Ruakh.
Then, after breathing a phrase in, I paused. With an expectant mind.
And, finally, I breathed out slowly. With a quiet, listening mind.
Then waited for the next phrase. It would tell me how to breathe. And the breath would tell me how to pay attention.
(1) Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Ekhad
Listen, Israel, Adonai is our God, Adonai is One
SHEMA – LISTEN TO THE BREATH.
(2) Barukh Shem Kivod Malkhuto l’olam va’ed
Blessed be the the Name of the Glorious Kingdom forever and ever
LET THE BREATH FILL THE BODY WITH GLORY.
(3) V’ahavta et Adonai Elohekha bekhol livavkha u’v’khol nafshekha u’vekhol me’odekha
Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your might.
BREATHE INTO YOUR HEART, THROAT, AND THIRD EYE CHAKRAS.
(4) V’hayu hadevarim haeyleh asher anokhi mitzavkha hayom al levavekha, v’shinantam l’vanekha v’dibarta bam
Let these things that I instruct you today be on your heart, teach them to your children, and speak of them
AGAIN, BREATHE INTO YOUR HEART, THROAT, AND THIRD EYE CHAKRAS.
(5) B’shivtekha biveitekha u’vlekhtekha baderekh u’vshokhbekha u’vekumekha
As you sit at home, walk on your way, lie down, and wake up
BREATHE INTO YOUR ROOT CHAKRA, INTO YOUR ENTIRE SPINE, AND UP TOWARDS YOUR THIRD EYE.
(6) U’keshartam li’ot al yadekha, v’hayu litotafot beyn eyenekha
Tie them as a sign onto your hands; let them be amulets between your eyes
BREATHE FROM THE ROOT INTO YOUR SPINE AGAIN, ALLOW BREATH TO FLOW DOWN YOUR ARMS TO YOUR FINGERTIPS, AND FLOW UP TO YOUR THIRD EYE.
(7) U’khtavtam al mezuzot beitekha u’vi’she’areikha
Write them on the doorposts of your home and on your gates
BREATHE INTO YOUR WHOLE BODY, TO THE CROWN AND BEYOND, BECAUSE YOUR WHOLE BODY HAS BECOME A GATE.
You can try this, too. And feel into it. Your body, full of oxygen. Full of energy, ruach, spirit. Vibrating. Attentive. Awake. Unified.
Your body, with a message about spiritual living. As you sit, as you walk, as you lie down to end a day, your heart fills. You teach, you speak, your eye awakens. Your gate opens. Your hands extend.