REBIRTHING.CA

REBIRTHING IS…

Most breath-work sessions reach a climax for the client when there is a profound sense of release and of having let go of some old, often forgotten psychic burden. It is the peak of the session. From this point, the transformational breath cycle continues but becomes less intense.

REBIRTHING IS…

The presence of a competent coach, who is gently encouraging the process without judgement or fear, enables the client to let go and relax into his unfolding experience.

REBIRTHING IS…

The deep relaxation nurtured by the breath shields the client, so that coming into conscious contact with painful memories does not itself become a source of stress. In this context it is important to emphasize the critical role of the breath-worker at this stage of the transformational breath cycle.

REBIRTHING IS…

Feelings of fear or anger may come up, but the mind is functioning as a witness to those feelings and so the purification process goes smoothly and easily.

REBIRTHING IS…

Because the rebirthee’s mind is quiet and enjoying the heightened sense of peace and security arising from it growing awareness of Being, it is able to ‘be with’ the suppressed material coming to the surface as an observer rather than an active participant.

REBIRTHING IS…

During the process, the suppressed energy associated with those buried memories gets released from the nervous system and manifests as emotions, sensations and desires. In other words, conscious breathing is purification.

REBIRTHING IS…

The subconscious is buried in the nervous system and is a storehouse of memories (both painful and pleasant) not immediately accessible to the conscious mind. The energy of the breathing process begins to drive these memories up to the surface.

REBIRTHING IS…

The transformational breathing process is the vehicle that delivers these buried experiences to the conscious mind for release. There is nothing mystical about the subconscious and the repressed psychic matter that is stored within it.

REBIRTHING IS…

As the client’s conscious mind becomes quieter and more surrendered to the present moment, repressed psychic matter (traumas, stresses, buried emotions, old hurts and wounds, etc) will begin to resurface and bubble up to consciousness.

REBIRTHING IS…

As the conscious breathing cycle progresses, the client’s attention will become progressively inwardly directed, naturally and without effort. His conscious mind will become quieter and he will become increasingly aware of what he is experiencing within his body and mind. Correspondingly, awareness of his external environment will diminish.

REBIRTHING IS…

When the breathing cycle is complete, the rebirther may give his client an appropriate affirmation in order to clarify and transform a core, unconscious belief. The work or action of rebirthing, however, is done entirely by the client, with the rebirther’s active support.

REBIRTHING IS…

If the rebirthee does not breathe properly, the rebirther will ask him what he is thinking about in order to identify the underlying belief that is pushing him into unconsciousness. If the client cannot see the background thought, the rebirther will remain aware that some belief is beginning to manifest and track it down during the course of the session.

REBIRTHING IS…

If the breathing becomes irregular or forced the coach will remind his client to breathe correctly, to relax, to connect the breaths, etc. If the client forgets to breathe or begins to fall asleep, the coach will encourage him or her to remain conscious, to stay present, to stay with the breath.

REBIRTHING IS…

A rebirthing session, when practised correctly, follows a simple pattern. The client is resting comfortably with the eyes closed and begins the ‘conscious-connected-breathing’ cycle. The breath-worker is watching the process and corrects the client’s breathing as needed.

REBIRTHING IS…

A breath-work session that lasts between 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

REBIRTHING IS…

A transformational breathing process that is the vehicle which delivers buried experiences to the conscious mind for release.

REBIRTHING IS…

Easy to learn and can be practised almost anywhere.

REBIRTHING IS…

A safe way to unravel negative patterns of self-sabotage and to create new possibilities for a more fulfilling and happier way of life.

REBIRTHING IS…

‘Conscious’ breathing.

Practised under the guidance of someone who is trained in this field, breath-work will allow us to tap into our hidden zones with an ease and profundity that surpasses traditional counselling and psychotherapy.

REBIRTHING IS…             Awakening The Fire Within!

“Unrelieved stress is the cause of all disease.”

Dr. Hans Selye

Founding father of research on stress

Nobel Nominee

ANTHONY DUART MACLEAN, REBIRTHER

REBIRTHING CANADA 514-769-0719  

EMAIL:  DUARTMC9@GMAIL.COM

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SCOTS WHA HAE

Scots, who have with Wallace bled,
Scots, whom Bruce has often led;
Welcome to your gory bed,
         Or to victory!

 

Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;
See the front of battle lower;
See approach proud Edward’s power—
         Chains and slavery!

 

Who will be a traitor knave?
Who can fill a coward’s grave!
Who so base as be a slave?
         Let him turn and flee!

 

Who for Scotland’s king and law
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand, or freeman fall,
         Let him follow me!

 

By oppression’s woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
         But they shall be free!

 

Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow!—
         Let us do or die!
Robert Burns 1759–1796
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T.S. Eliot, Poet exquisite excerpts

38 Quotes:

1.

“To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing,

to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.”

2.

“This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.”

3.

“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.”

4.

“For I have known them all already, known them all—

Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.”

5.

“The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence

that we may yet have hope for the future of man”

6.

“What is hell? Hell is oneself.

Hell is alone, the other figures in it

Merely projections. There is nothing to escape from

And nothing to escape to. One is always alone.”

7.

“Shape without form, shade without colour,

Paralyzed force, gesture without motion…”

8.

“Humankind cannot bear very much reality.”

9.

“If you haven’t the strength to impose your own terms upon life,

then you must accept the terms it offers you.”

10.

“Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow”

11.

“Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think;

whatever you want, be sure that is what you want;

whatever you feel, be sure that is what you feel.”

12.

“Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.”

13.

“What we call the beginning is often the end.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.”

14.

“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity”

15.

“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal.”

16.

“Love is most nearly itself

When here and now cease to matter.”

17.

“Time present and time past

Are both perhaps present in time future,

And time future contained in time past.

If all time is eternally present

All time is unredeemable.”

18.

“To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,

You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.

In order to arrive at what you do not know

You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.

In order to possess what you do not possess

You must go by the way of dispossession.

In order to arrive at what you are not

You must go through the way in which you are not.

And what you do not know is the only thing you know

And what you own is what you do not own

And where you are is where you are not.”

19.

“There is one who remembers the way to your door:

Life you may evade, but Death you shall not.”

20.

“Where is the Life we have lost in living?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”

21.

“…we don’t actually fear death,

we fear that no one will notice our absence,

that we will disappear without a trace.”

22.

“On Margate sands

I can connect

Nothing with nothing”

23.

“Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherised upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:

Streets that follow like a tedious argument

Of insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question …”

24.

“No one can become really educated without having

pursued some study in which he took no interest –

for it is a part of education to learn to interest ourselves

in subjects for which we have no aptitude.”

25.

“The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink.”

26.

“Except for the point, the still point,

There would be no dance, and there is only the dance”

27.

“So I find words I never thought to speak

In streets I never thought I should revisit

When I left my body on a distant shore.”

28.

“I am moved by fancies that are curled,

around these images and cling,

the notion of some infinitely gentle,

infinitely suffering thing.”

29.

“No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone.

His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his

relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone;

you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead.”

30.

“Footfalls echo in the memory

down the passage we did not take

towards the door we never opened

into the rose garden. My words echo

thus, in your mind”

31.

“We are being made aware that the organization of society

on the principle of private profit, as well as public destruction,

is leading both to the deformation of humanity by unregulated

industrialism, and to the exhaustion of natural resources,

and that a good deal of our material progress is a progress

for which succeeding generations may have to pay dearly.”

32.

“We must not cease from exploration.

And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive

where we began and to know the place for the first time.”

33.

“Hell is oneself,

Hell is alone.”

34.

“Not the intense moment

Isolated, with no before and after,

But a lifetime burning in every moment.”

35.

“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”

36.

“We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, remembered gate

When the last of earth left to discover

Is that which was the beginning;

At the source of the longest river

The voice of the hidden waterfall

And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for

But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

Between two waves of the sea.”

37.

“Let us go then, you and I,

When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherized upon a table;

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,

The muttering retreats

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:

Streets that follow like a tedious argument

Of insidious intent

To lead you to an overwhelming question…

38.

“Unreal City,

Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,

A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,

I had not thought death had undone so many.

Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,

And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,

To where St Mary Woolnoth kept the hours

With a dead sound on the final stock of nine.

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THE ESSENTIAL TEACHING

RAMANA MAHARSHI

THE SAGE OF ARUNACHALA

1879-1950

“Shiva is the Being assuming all forms and the Consciousness seeing them. That is to say, Shiva is the background underlying both the subject and the object. Everything has its Being in Shiva and because of Shiva.”

1.

By the will of the Creator, action bears fruit. Is action, then, supreme? No, it is inert, unconscious.

2.

The fruits of actions are not everlasting and they call one to fall into the great ocean of ‘karma’ (action, causality), blocking spiritual progress.

3.

That action which is done without personal desire and whose fruits are surrendered to the Lord, purifies the mind and leads to Liberation.

4.

Ritual worship, repetition of sacred names, and meditation are done with the body, the speech, and the mind, and they progress in excellence in that order.

5.

To serve the world, looked upon as the manifestation of the Lord, is to offer worship to the Lord of the Eight Forms (Water, Fire, Priest, Moon, Sun, Ether, Earth, Air).

6.

Silent meditation, in the mind, is higher than the best devotional praise, or the uttering of sacred names, loudly or softly.

7.

Like an unbroken flow of oil or a stream of water, continuous meditation is better than that which is interrupted.

8.

Meditation on the identity of the individual and the Lord, ‘I am He’, is more purifying than meditation which assumes a difference between them.

9.

By the power of meditation, devoid of thoughts, one is established in true Being, and this is supreme devotion.

10.

The practice of fixing the mind in its own source in the Heart is, without doubt, true ‘bhakti’ (devotion), yoga, and understanding.

11.

The mind may be subdued by regulating the breath, just as a bird is restrained when caught in a net. This practice controls the mind.

12.

Mind and breath, manifesting in thought and action, branch out from a common source, the ‘Shakti’ (the creative and motivating power in the universe).

13.

Absorption and destruction are the two kinds of mind control. When merely absorbed, it emerges again, but not when it is destroyed.

14.

When the mind has been suspended by breath restraint, it may be annihilated by single-minded attention to the Self.

15.

What action remains to be done by that great yogi whose mind has been extinguished, and who rests in his own true and transcendent state of Being?

16.

If one’s attention is turned away from external objects of sense and focused on the light of the Self, that is the true vision of Reality.

17.

Again, if one persists in asking, ‘What is this mind of mine?’, it will be found that there is really no such thing as mind. This is the Direct Path.

18.

What one has thought of as his mind is merely a bundle of thoughts. All these thoughts depend upon the one thought of ‘I’, the ego. Therefore, the so-called mind is the ‘I’-thought.

19.

If one asks himself, ‘Where does this “I” come from?’, it will vanish. This is the self-enquiry, or ‘atma-vichara’.

20.

Where this ‘I’ vanished and merged in its Source there appears spontaneously and continuously an ‘I-I’. This is the Heart, the infinite Supreme Being.

21.

And this uninterrupted ‘I-I’ is the true meaning of the term ‘I’ because when the waking ego ‘I’ daily disappears in deep sleep, the real ‘I’ remains.

22.

This true ‘I’, the one Reality, is not the body, or the senses, or mind, or breath, or ignorance. These are all inert and insentient.

23.

There is only one Being that can know Reality. That one-only Being is itself Reality and is itself Consciousness.

24.

Both Creator and creature are essentially one and the same Reality. Their apparent differences are due only to differences in form and levels of knowledge.

25.

When the creature abandons its illusory individual form and recognizes itself as without attributes, it sees the Creator as its own true Self.

26.

Being the Self is knowing the Self, because there is only one Self, and not two. This Being and knowing the Self is abiding in the Reality.

27.

True knowledge is beyond what we think of as ‘knowledge’ or ‘ignorance’ because in the State of Non-differentiation what other thing is to be known?

28.

If one’s true Self is known, then there is neither birth nor death, but eternal Being, Consciousness, Bliss.

29.

The jiva (individual ‘I’) who attains the state of Supreme Bliss, beyond any thoughts of bondage or freedom, is truly devoted to the Lord.

30.

When the individual ‘I’ has disappeared and the real

‘I-I’ has been found, that is the excellent ‘tapas’ (efforts to obtain Realization). Ramana says this.

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BRIDGE OVER RED RIVER

For the time being

flow toward Being

freely choose the path you choose to be;

but remember me, remember

that I have crossed this bridge

      a hundred times and always,

a hundred times, always

returned to the window

and wondered how you choose.

At any time, on any corner

        in any street

the thought of you can rise to

haunt me, shatter my

          intentions, shatter me

scatter me, leave me without force

soften my face, my eyes

leave me trembling like a leaf.

I know you well, I know you

        not at all

bright eyes and laughter

laughter that tinkles from afar

clear, here

        not here, not far

nowhere, yet near, near.

At any hour, on any day

      at work or in a cafe reading

the thought of you can fade,

dissolve, and I emerge

with full intention

shedding emotion, amazed that I

            could feel devotion

could yield a crystal blazing brilliance

to enfolding softness, to a dumb

enclosing closeness with the air and light

with the concrete and cement and trees,

with this still and muted afternoon.

You vanish, you give way,

          so it must be

yet you do not die; this I know…

too many months have passed

            you come and go

appear, re-appear

you are there, here, real

and I cannot smile, say ‘no’, deny you

like the rest —

too many layers of tenderness, too many

too much substance to reject;

          and always, I know

that you are tender with me

responsive and respecting

but elusive, out of reach

forever and never yielding.

So I have crossed this bridge

        a hundred times,

crossed it and re-crossed it;

leaned upon the rail and watched

          the river passing

from remoteness to remoteness

yet here, real;

      the grey I see

reveals and hides it’s mystery

and it’s passion

and even as it flows from me

it flows as mine and ever                                                    

out of reach.

Anthony Duart Maclean

Winnipeg, 1975 

 

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THE UNDYING SELF: Vedic Wisdom in the New Millennium

The Undying Self:  Vedic Wisdom in the New Millennium

To purchase or enquire about this book contact: EMAIL@THEUNDYINGSELF.COM

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Author David Frawley’s Foreword to ‘The Undying Self: Vedic Wisdom in the New Millennium’

FOREWORD

 Notes on 

“The Undying Self”

 by Vedic scholar and author, David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)

The Primacy of the Self

Our true Self, being, and nature is a state of pure awareness beyond our individualized body and mind, and also beyond all limitations of time, place, person, and action in the outer world.  Though seeming difficult to grasp it ever abides at the core awareness in our own hearts that embraces all existence as its own.

This true Self is largely unknown to us because of our attachment to our outer existence in the physical world.  Yet we all have a sense of it in the beauty, joy, wonder, and truth that flows through special moments in life, and in the intuition of the eternal and the infinite that belongs to each one of us.

One of the greatest mysteries of life is that although all creatures are naturally born and die in the cycle of time, no one wants to die.  We all have a longing for, if not a vision of our own immortality.  But this immortality lies in our own inner awareness, not in our outer identity.  To discover this requires a radical shift in how we perceive both ourselves and the world in which we live.

Vedantic knowledge 

Vedantic knowledge was the true revelation that Swami Vivekananda brought to the West in 1893, from which the modern global Yoga movement began.  Yoga was an offshoot 

of this greater Vedantic knowledge.  Yoga-Vedanta was the theme of such early global gurus as Vivekananda.  Vedantic knowledge is, simply speaking, the knowledge of our immortal Self that is common to all.  In the broader sense it is the knowledge that the Self pervades the entire universe and whatever may be beyond it as well.  Such practical Vedanta is the need of all humanity.

Vedic knowledge

Vedic knowledge is the broader system of integral knowledge of Self and universe of which Vedanta is the summit.  It reflects the pattern of knowledge in the Cosmic Mind in various mantric texts of great vibratory power and depth, which are called the Vedas.  As such, Vedic knowledge can teach us all the secrets of nature relative to the nature of the worlds, their energies and ruling powers, types of creatures, how to live our lives, and how to work with the subtle energies of time and space.

Anthony Duart Maclean

The author of the current book has presented the Vedantic knowledge in a fresh and direct manner that reflects the living experience of a seasoned sadhak who has an inner contact with the great gurus.  It is no mere academic Vedanta that he presents, or a reformulation of the words of others. Through his insight he can draw the reader into the experience of the true Self of all in a simple and immediate way.

Duart has also shown how Vedanta represents the deepest philosophy of humanity, reflected in various degrees and manners through great thinkers throughout the world over the centuries, including in Europe.  His book provides an excellent bridge between classical Vedanta and modern western thought. 

The author’s language is — one must recognize — dense and concentrated, much as is the profound subject and something like the sutra or axiomatic approach of Vedic literature.  His book requires a careful contemplation of every word and cannot simply be perused or quickly read.  Each sentence indicates consciousness transforming knowledge that is crucial to our ultimate well-being.

In addition the author has drawn us through the Vedantic knowledge into a profound examination of Yoga and Vedic knowledge as well.  On such a Vedantic background the true essence of these teachings is revealed.

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, perhaps the most recognized modern exponent of Vedantic knowledge, taught a simple and direct path of “Self-being.”  I would not say simply a way to “Self-realization” because the Self is always realized. Rather Ramana show us how to find our own Self-being that is beyond all dilemmas and dualities of the mind. 

Yet we must also remember that, however simply put into language, our inner Self is the supreme mystery, the ultimate Unknown, that is beyond all terms and ideas.  Our true Self, as the deepest core of our being, is that which is most secret and most sacred.  It requires surrendering the mind and letting go of the known, turning our awareness deep within in order to truly abide in it.

Today, particularly in the West, Ramana’s profound teaching is sometimes reduced by modern followers almost into a kind of pop psychology of instant enlightenment for all.  Yet Ramana’s path was one of deep search within ourselves, which requires the most consummate concentration in order to accomplish.  Duart’s teaching reflects that sheer profundity of Ramana’s true path. 

To discover that Self one must go beyond not only the ego of this birth but all attachment to embodied existence and to all the great karmic cycles of life.  This is the supreme quest of all our souls.  As such, Ramana is one of the great world gurus for this time and for centuries to come.

Yoga

Classical Yoga in essence is our return from the mind, and its related ego and body-consciousness, to the Self, the Atman or Purusha that is the Self-aware Universe and Self-being of all. The author directs us to the highest Yoga of Self-knowledge, though he also shows the place of all aspects of Yoga as a potentially helpful part of that deeper search.  Those today who find value in any aspect of Yoga should look into this higher Yoga of Self-awareness that he reveals.

Vedic Culture

Vedic culture or Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal way of Truth, reflects a cultural pursuit of Self-realization as the true purpose of human life, which means also embracing the entire universe within ourselves.  Vedic culture leads us to Yoga and Vedanta but also provides a basis for these in a life that honors all aspects of the Divine presence in the universe, from every aspect of nature to the forces and faculties of our own soul.  Recognizing the restoring of such a Vedic culture is perhaps the most important project for all humanity today.

Conclusion

Duart Maclean has produced a most remarkable compendium of insights that weave together the highest spiritual truths and most relevant factors of human life.  The book is not just one book but several and contains more insights in a few pages than many books do in their entirety.

We ask the reader to take time with this important book, to approach it as part of their own inner search that lasts a lifetime.  The book is aimed at a serious student of the higher truth, who will certainly value its many treasures.  One should live with, meditate with, and be one with this book.  It will unfold a greater inner power and insight for all who attempt this. 

 Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley)

 

 

 

 

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Introduction to my upcoming book, “The Undying Self: Vedic Wisdom in the New Millennium”

INTRODUCTION

The Limits To Thought

Since the ancient Greeks, the West has given absolute pre-eminence to the intellect, which has produced science as its crowning glory.  Through science the intellect has opened vast new vistas and produced an astounding range of technologies.  On the downside, the intellect has attained cult-like status which often blinds us to the other non-logical, non-scientific, yet valid possibilities.  This has produced a dismissive attitude toward our intuitive side, the potential of which may contain the keys to our very survival as a race.  Science has not succeeded in liberating us from our relentless assault on the environment nor reduced our violent tendencies toward our fellow humans, let alone other life forms.

For the ordinary intellect, supra-mental Knowledge is a mystery and thus the intellect tends to dismiss it as either useless speculation or wishful thinking or simply, escapism.  Those, however, who have encountered this Knowledge directly and personally, understand that it is not something that can be simply dismissed as groundless.  Since it is known directly — not in the way a subject knows an object, but as an immediacy which embraces both the subject and the object within itself — and since those who claim to have discovered it are often individuals of great rationality and common sense, it warrants serious consideration from even the most skeptical of thinkers.  Those philosophers given to precise definition of terms, empirical verifiability, rigorous logical analysis, etc, generally avoid even discussing these possibilities, since the syntax and methodologies they use are hopelessly inadequate to either validate or disprove the reality of what these transcendental realizations refer to.

Ramana Maharshi, a modern sage of very clear, pragmatic thinking underscores the problem when he states that ‘philosophy ends where spirituality begins’.  He has commented extensively on the ephemeral nature of the ego-self, describing it as merely a thought or feeling.  He emphasizes that the ‘I-thought’ is a fleeting shadow which seems to have substance when our attention is focussed on an external object or an internal emotion, sensation or idea.  Whenever, however, we attempt to turn our attention upon the ‘I-thought’ itself, the thought simply disappears and we find ourselves, for a moment, in a state of pure being in which there is neither an ‘I’ nor an ‘other’.  He likens this to turning the beam of a flashlight upon a shadow in order to get a better view of it.

According to the Vedic insight of non-duality, the personal self along with its world-view is a projection or superimposition on a screen of Consciousness.  It is this transcendental Self which is our true Nature.  Since this higher Self of Being-Consciousness is not an object, nor susceptible to objective verification, it can be known only immediately and intuitively.  This of course conveniently puts the Self out of the range of scientific proof, which always involves empirical verification.  Scientific materialism cannot disprove the Self, yet neither can an illumined Sage prove the Self — at least according to the rules of scientific method.  As Ramana Maharshi comments, the only way ‘to know the Self, is to be the Self’.

This book establishes that even though we must relate to the world ‘as if’ it is real –i.e.,  as if there actually are real, discrete ‘objects’ such as rocks, trees and animals, in fact there is no discreteness anywhere accept in our limited, conceptual minds.  The truth is, we don’t see the world and Reality as they are, but only our self-created descriptions of them.  Understanding this is the first step to Freedom.

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Transformational Breath: An Ancient Wisdom

‘Totally windless, by itself, the One breathed;
Beyond that, indeed, nothing whatever was.’
‘Hymn of Creation’
Rig Veda X.129.2

‘Conscious’ breathing is as old as yoga, which is at least 5000 years. Near the north-west corner of modern India, the Indus River Valley civilisation traces back to at least the third millenium BC. It is probably much older. Archaeological digs at the sites of the ancient cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa reveal a highly evolved civilisation which utilised elaborate drainage systems, dams, centralised storage granaries, three story houses, bathrooms, assembly halls and even colleges. There, soapstone seals used by merchants show the great God Shiva sitting in yoga posture. Shiva is the ‘Lord of yoga’, the Source from which yoga springs. At the heart of yoga practice lies the breath, and for thousands of years yogis have been practising and teaching various forms of breathing exercises known as pranayama or breath control. Prana or ‘vital force’ circulates in the body, influencing mental and physical health, as well as the quality of our consciousness. If the circulation of life force is blocked due to stress or injury, illness may result. If our life force is weak, we lose our ability to concentrate. We feel fatigued and lack energy. If it is disturbed, our minds and emotions become disturbed. Breath is the connecting link between the vital force and the body-mind. If we stop breathing for even a few minutes, the body’s connection with the life force is broken and death results. By using breathing techniques, especially in conjunction with meditation and yoga postures, we gain deep relaxation, inner clarity, emotional stability, better health and greater ability to concentrate.

In modern society, where we spend much of our time sitting hunched over computers, desks or the steering wheels of our cars, most people breathe very poorly. Bad posture, air pollution and constricted, shallow breathing add to the problem. Simply by breathing properly, many of our health problems, including fatigue, nervousness, insomnia, poor circulation, weak concentration, tiredness and depression can be alleviated or even eliminated. Practising even a few minutes of yogic breath two or three times a day will make an enormous difference to our well being.

The beginnings of Rebirthing in the West

The ‘sixties and ‘seventies marked the beginning of the West’s fascination with yoga and its benefits. Many seekers, young and old, travelled to India in search of the inner peace and wisdom offered by the ancient system of yoga. Yogis also came to the West, travelling and sharing their knowledge with millions of people. The Beatles took up the practice of Transcendental Meditation and, almost overnight, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi became world famous. Today, in nearly every town and city of North America and Europe, yoga classes are taught in studios, schools, community centres and health clubs. Many have taken up some form of meditation. The popularity of yoga continues to grow. Yoga is clearly not a passing fad but is here to stay, profoundly influencing the very foundations of Western civilisation in a positive way.

During the early ‘seventies Leonard Orr, an American yogi, began experimenting with a form of kriya (active) breathing which he termed ‘rebirthing’. Leonard had spent much time in India studying with a Himalayan yogi known as Babaji. Inspired by Babaji, Leonard and a group of associates, including Sondra Ray – a widely read author of books on healing and transformation in relationships – developed the rebirthing technique, also known as ‘conscious-connected-breathing’. They found the benefits of this form of conscious breathing extraordinary and the practice began to catch on. Thousands of Canadians, Americans and Europeans put themselves through two hour ‘rebirthing’ sessions and noticed remarkable changes in their lives. Problems that had been plaguing them for years would begin to dissolve or simply disappear. Negative patterns of self-sabotage would begin to unravel and new possibilities for a creative and happier life would open up. Relationships would improve. Well being would replace ill health. Feelings of depression, even suicidal thoughts, would give way to a more positive, affirmative view of life. Many found the burden of living transforming into the joy of living. The ‘rebirthing’ method, loosely defined as a form of kriya (action) yoga (to unite), became widely practised in many countries.

How it works

The rebirthing process is easy to learn and can be practised almost anywhere. What is required is a quiet room, a trained breathing ‘coach’ and about two undisturbed hours. The client reclines in a comfortable position, usually on a couch or mat, and covered with a blanket. The breathing coach sits beside the client, providing a ‘safe space’ and guidance when needed. Basically, the client practices about 60 minutes of ‘conscious-connected-breathing’ and surrenders into a process that unfolds naturally from within. The responsibility of the coach is to ensure that the client is breathing correctly and feels safe and secure while going through the rebirthing process. An experienced breath-worker will also be able to provide valuable feedback to the client during and after the session. But, mainly, the coach simply observes the process and allows the client to have his or her own experience.

This ‘transformational breath’ session, when practised correctly, follows a simple pattern. The client is resting comfortably with the eyes closed and begins the ‘conscious-connected-breathing’ cycle. The breath-worker is watching the process and corrects the client’s breathing as needed. If the breathing becomes irregular or forced the coach will remind his client to breathe correctly, to relax, to connect the breaths, etc. If the client forgets to breathe or begins to fall asleep, the coach will encourage him or her to remain conscious, to stay present, to stay with the breath. The rebirther will ask him what he is thinking about in order to identify the underlying belief that is pushing him into unconsciousness. If the client cannot see the background thought, the rebirther will remain aware that some belief is beginning to manifest and track it down during the course of the session. When the breathing cycle is complete, he will give his client an appropriate affirmation in order to clarify and transform this core, unconscious belief. The work or action (kriya) of rebirthing, however, is done entirely by the client, with the rebirther’s active support.

At the beginning of the session, the client will be primarily outwardly focussed, with his attention on the room, the coach, his own body, noises, odours, etc., basically anything within his field of perception. As the conscious breathing cycle progresses, his attention will become progressively inwardly directed, naturally and without effort. His conscious mind will become quieter and he will become increasingly aware of what he is experiencing within his body and mind. Correspondingly, awareness of his external environment will diminish.

As the conscious mind becomes quieter and more surrendered to the present moment, repressed psychic matter (traumas, stresses, buried emotions, old hurts and wounds, etc) will begin to resurface and bubble up to consciousness. The transformational breathing process is the vehicle that delivers these buried experiences to the conscious mind for release. There is nothing mystical about the subconscious and the repressed psychic matter that is stored within it. The subconscious is buried in the nervous system and is a storehouse of memories (both painful and pleasant) not immediately accessible to the conscious mind. The energy of the breathing process begins to drive these memories up to the surface. Concurrently, the suppressed energy associated with those memories gets released from the nervous system and manifests as emotions, sensations and desires. In other words, conscious breathing is purification. Because the mind is quiet and enjoying the heightened sense of peace and security arising from its growing awareness of Being, it is able to ‘be with’ the suppressed material coming to the surface as an observer rather than an active participant. Feelings of fear or anger may come up, but the mind is functioning as a witness to those feelings and so the purification process goes smoothly and easily. The deep relaxation nurtured by the breath shields the client, so that coming into conscious contact with painful memories does not itself become a source of stress. In this context it is important to emphasise the critical role of the breath-worker at this stage of the transformational breath cycle. The presence of a competent coach, who is gently encouraging the process without judgement or fear, enables the client to let go and relax into his unfolding experience.

Most breath-work sessions reach a climax for the client when there is a profound sense of release and of having let go of some old, often forgotten, psychic burden. It is the peak of the session. From this point, the transformational breath cycle continues but becomes less intense. The client’s sense of inner relaxation deepens and his mind will become extremely quiet, often attaining a state of absolute silence while remaining fully alert; in other words, a state of profound restful alertness similar to the silent awareness of deep meditation. This experience is like a reward for work well done. Conscious breathing is not a passive process, but an active one requiring a commitment on the part of both the client and the coach. The client does the work of breathing consciously and continuously, while the coach stays actively and unconditionally present to the client and his process for the duration of the breathing cycle.

Slowly, the client comes back to ordinary consciousness, waking up the body by stretching, opening the eyes, and becoming aware once again of his surroundings. This is a period of ‘positive’ integration for the client. The breath-worker will also provide feedback as required, but the greatest service he has to offer his client is attentive, non-judgmental listening.

Perhaps a résumé of an actual ‘transformational breath’ session will be useful. The following example is more dramatic than usual but clearly demonstrates the potential healing power of the breath.

Duart’s experience:

Monika is a fashion model for a popular woman’s magazine and also features regularly in the catalogues of an upscale clothing chain. She was referred through a mutual friend. When she came to my home for her first session I was impressed by how tall, slender and beautiful she was, while at the same time being simple, straight-forward and down to earth. I liked her immediately.

I explained to Monika how the transformational breath method works and asked her a few questions about her birth, parents, interests and family background. I also asked her what she wanted from her session. Looking me directly in the eyes she calmly said that, although she met many attractive, successful and interesting men who wanted to go out with her, her relationships never lasted for more than one month. She was clear she had a pattern or blockage but could not understand what it was. She said she wanted a genuine, loving, long-term relationship with someone and that is why she had come. Then she reclined on the cot used for breath-work, I covered her with a blanket, and she started her ‘conscious-connected-breathing’ cycle.

Within about fifteen or twenty minutes she was immersed in her inner experience and her breath was flowing deeply, easily and continuously. Up to this point, the process appeared to be going smoothly and uneventfully. Suddenly, however, her whole demeanour changed and the peaceful look on her face altered to one of horror and revulsion. Her body began to contract and turn as if resisting something or someone, and her head was moving from side to side. “No! No! No!” she kept repeating, “What are you doing? Don’t! Leave me alone!” Often, people have a tendency to dramatise their experiences, perhaps out of a need for attention or from a belief that they have to put more into it in order to get a result – a form of ‘struggle pattern’. When this happens, I feel the lack of authenticity and remain unmoved. I encourage them to continue the breathing cycle and allow the experience to unfold, knowing that if they stay with the process something real will begin to occur. Their drama simply delays the letting go, which always follows when the conscious breathing cycle is practised properly. What Monika was experiencing, however, was genuine – very real – and I felt a cold chill run along my spine. Although her eyes were closed and she was totally focussed on her inner process, she could hear my voice. I asked her, ‘How old are you right now?’ ‘Eight’, she replied. ‘Where are you?’ I asked. She answered, ‘In a big room, like a hallway or basement, in a big building…there is an old man with me.’ At this point, her feelings of revulsion and horror intensified even more and it was clear she was re-experiencing some sort of encounter with an older man that she had found horrific. I asked her a few more questions while she was still in her process and, evidently, she was being fondled or worse by someone in the building where she was living. I allowed her to continue to process this incident, whatever it was, without interference on my part. My role at this point was simply to remain there, continuing to create a ‘safe space’ in which she could process and integrate this event. After another ten or fifteen minutes, the intensity of her experience diminished significantly and she gradually settled into a deeply peaceful state, similar to a profound meditation, and remained in that blissful condition for the remainder of her session.

Afterwards, she sat up and we talked about her experience. She told me that she had no conscious memory of any sexual or other form of abuse as a child. But she remembered that as a child of eight she was living with her mother and father in a relatively poor area of Toronto. Both parents were working and she often spent time alone in the apartment building they inhabited. The caretaker of the building was an older man who would be her guardian when her parents were away. So, her experience during her rebirth fit with the facts of her childhood when she was eight. Did the caretaker abuse her? Did it really happen? We have no way of knowing for sure. I told Monika that whether the incident had truly occurred, or happened with that particular man, was not as important as the actual fact of her experience during her rebirth. She had released something major which was not available to her conscious mind prior to her session. What was important is that she was clearing something obviously affecting the quality of her current life in a negative fashion. Monika agreed and was both surprised and pleased by the clarity and intensity of what had been presented to her conscious mind for release through the breath.

Then, I asked her about her history of short-term relationships with men. ‘Who leaves the relationship first, you or your boyfriend?’, I asked. ‘I am always the one who leaves first.’, she responded. Monika had a clear, very precise pattern of leaving. ‘Do you see the connection?’ She nodded her head, ‘Yes!’ ‘Men are dangerous, right?’, I said. She got it immediately. Her trust in men had been shattered and she was totally afraid of real intimacy. She had made an unconscious decision that trusting a man was as dangerous as putting her hand in a fire. Just as a new relationship would begin to open up and become emotionally intimate, she would bolt like a frightened, wild horse. Beliefs are powerful, especially when they are unconscious, and they will literally draw to us experiences that will confirm them as true. Unconscious beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies. Monika’s hidden conviction that men are dangerous became a self-fulfilling prophecy that blocked her from experiencing intimacy with a male, resulting in one break-up after another. Once she became conscious that she had this belief, it lost its power over her. She no longer had to blindly act out her impulse to ‘bolt’ whenever a man got too close. She could breathe and feel whatever feelings were arising as she became intimate with someone. She could now choose to stay and ‘experience her experience’ rather than simply act out the blind impulse to run. She could use affirmations, such as ‘I, Monika, can now trust men’ and ‘Men are safe for me to be with’ to help neutralise her belief that men are dangerous. She could also communicate her fear to the object of her fear, men, and thereby overcome her pattern of escaping. Getting conscious of a problem is half way to resolving it. It is ignorance of our unconscious mechanisms that keep us stuck repeating them endlessly.

Monika came for a few more breathing sessions and continued to integrate her initial experience. About eight months later I happened to bump into her at a shopping mall and we talked. She told me that she had been in a new relationship for several months and it was going well. For the first time she was enjoying a relationship lasting more than a few weeks. She also said that this man was different from the type of men she had been dating before. This relationship was based less on external appearances and symbols of success and more on the inner qualities and character of the person she was with. She told me she was very happy with him. I never saw Monika again but I am sure that, whatever the outcome of that particular relationship, something fundamental had healed within her, something lasting.

Birth trauma

People often assume that breath-work is principally about pregnancy and the birth experience. In fact, among the core group of people working with Leonard Orr, founder of the ‘rebirthing’ movement, memories of their own birth experiences came up so frequently and powerfully that the connected breathing cycle became associated with healing trauma associated with birth itself. While it is true that many people engaged in breath-work have experiences that appear to relate directly to the kind of birth they underwent, these do not represent the majority of memories which arise during their sessions. For this reason, ‘rebirthing’ is more accurately termed ‘conscious-connected- breathing’, ‘transformational breath’ or simply ‘breath-work’, which avoids limiting the practice to any single aspect of the total human experience. But the term ‘rebirthing’ is also appropriate in the sense that this form of kriya (work) allows practitioners to enjoy a profound renewal, a sense of being ‘born again’, in their lives. Thus, the term ‘rebirthing’ is correct, but in a spiritual rather than literal sense. This said, birth memories do resurface as a significant aspect of the overall transformational breath experience. When we consider that a new-born is already a fairly developed ‘little’ person when he or she makes that intense and difficult passage through the birth canal, it is reasonable to presume that aspects of this primal experience will remain buried in the unconscious. The connected breathing cycle often brings up ‘chunks’ of this material during rebirthing sessions. Clearing this repressed matter from the subconscious is valuable, since what is buried there forms an important part of the screen or filter through which we perceive our world. We all have ways of perceiving and being that we can’t account for, but which infl uence our behaviour for good or ill, affecting our health, career, finances and relationships either positively or negatively. For example, if our birth was very painful or a great struggle, then it is entirely likely that we will have entered this world with the unconscious decision that life itself is a struggle or a painful process.

Based on thousands of experiences of the birth process during rebirthing sessions, breath-workers have come up with a summary of basic, unconscious patterns that repeatedly accompany different types of birth, such as caesarean,breech, etc. Some of these patterns have been identified as follows:

Short labour: a pattern of feeling rushed and nervous, impatient, always hurrying.

Long labour: a pattern of feeling ‘held back’ in life, always facing a ‘wall of resistance’.

Premature birth: a pattern of feeling small, insignificant, vulnerable, immature.

Late birth: a pattern of being late, keeping others waiting, resistance to being on time.

Caesarean: a pattern of feeling that ‘I can’t do it myself ’ or ‘I always do it wrong’, difficulty completing things.

Incubator: a pattern of feeling separate and alone, afraid of being touched, looking out at the world from behind glass.

Transverse Lie: a pattern of not knowing ‘which way to go’, of being misdirected, misguided, of having things ‘twisted’.

Induced: a pattern of feeling helpless, of needing to be ‘induced’ to take action, difficulty in starting projects.

Breech: a pattern of ‘fighting to get out’ of situations and relationships, feeling pulled and forced by others, feeling life is a struggle.

Forceps: a pattern of feeling that ‘I can’t make it on my own’, fear of being controlled and manipulated.

Cord around neck: a pattern of feeling ‘strangled’ in relationships, fear of being ‘choked’, feelings of ‘suffocation’ in close situations.

Lyse’s experience:

During my six-month Rebirth Training, which I attended in NewYork City in 1985, I suddenly became aware of my own birth trauma. Up to that point, I had personally completed twelve rebirths: six privates and six in a group. I had had strong feelings of rejection coming up during these sessions, as well as a variety of related emotions. When the trainers talked about the importance of the birth trauma, the birth script, thoughts at birth, in fact, the entire birth scenario, I thought they were exaggerating. During my own first twelve rebirths I had not encountered anything remotely resembling the birth trauma. I had felt physical sensations, pain here and there, shaking in my body (i.e., kinaesthetic experience), but I did not see any memory, any image or anything related to my birth.

As the Rebirth Training progressed I began having terrible headaches. I was staying alone at a Holiday Inn in a run-down part of NewYork, feeling nervous and disturbed because my room was next to an ice machine and a crowd of loud, obnoxious people throwing all night parties. I could hear them talking next to my door, banging on the ice machine. I felt afraid and very vulnerable. I thought, ‘What am I doing here alone in a strange city, surrounded by these aggressive strangers? Maybe they’ll break down my door and attack me.’ All of my major fears were activated. I felt unsafe in New York, unsafe on the planet, unsafe in my own body, and at the same time suffered an excruciating headache. I was dizzy, feeling disoriented like someone on drugs or alcohol. I remember walking in Central Park thinking, ‘Did I take drugs? Did I take alcohol? No, I have not been drunk or high for years, I’ve had nothing at all.’ But I felt so drugged, so disoriented, that I had a hard time finding my way around. It was really unpleasant.

One day midway through a Rebirth Training weekend, one of the trainers, Peter Kane commented, ‘If you are having big headaches or feeling dizzy you might be going through chunks of your birth and your delivery may have included the use of forceps.’ His words stunned me because I had been born with the help of forceps! As he spoke I felt an intense anxiety in my solar plexus, along with anguish and fear, and I was convinced that something terrible was about to happen to me. My headache intensified around my temples and I felt a big pressure in my head. He added that many people have migraine headaches due to the use of forceps during birth. At that moment I felt he was talking directly to me, although there were more than 50 people in the room. Intellectually, I found his comments far fetched, but at the same time I had no other explanation for how I was feeling, which was certainly not my normal state. Finally I let go of my resistance to Peter’s message and opened myself to the possibility that it was true.

During the rebirth session that followed, I became crippled, paralysed and totally terrified. The trainers asked me, ‘What’s going on?’ Hardly able to speak I repeated, ‘I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…’ They asked, ‘You can’t what?’ I said, ‘I can’t move…I feel paralysed… I’m blocked here… I’m stuck…’ Their response was, ‘This is just a thought, it’s a memory you’re going through…only a thought…and of course you can. Since what you are going through is related to your birth, you can!’ They started to laugh, which only intensified my upset because I felt they were laughing at me. However, my paralysis cleared up. It disappeared with the words, ‘Of course you can.’ I also could feel the stress releasing from my body and my headache fading away.

After this experience I realised that I had had similar intense headaches whenever I was trapped in a packed elevator or a crowded room. As a child, sometimes my parents and I would get stuck in heavy traffic driving over Montreal’s Champlain Bridge on our way to the country and I would have terrible headaches to the point of vomiting. This feeling of being trapped and stuck in a small space from which I could not escape could have stemmed from being caught in the birth canal, but I could not be certain that there was a direct connection. I did observe, however, that after this particular rebirth session, tight, crowded spaces or traffic jams would no longer give me headaches or anguish. Gone were the pressure in my temples, the nausea and the pain in my head. I began to have confidence in the words of my trainers.

Through rebirthing, I also learned that people born with forceps want support and at the same time are afraid of it. Forceps are painful for the baby, however they support the infant in staying alive, since getting caught too long in the birth canal can cause death. My own subconscious belief that support hurts has also been an issue in my life. I have always assumed that I want support, but my unconscious pattern has been to push support away.

Often, forceps have been used for convenience and efficiency rather than as a life-saving maneuver of last resort. In the 1950’s, with so many baby boomers arriving, doctors often would have to run from one delivery to another. To speed the process they came to rely increasingly on the use forceps and/or anaesthesia. I have also realised that my inexplicable feeling of being drugged during my weekend in New York was related to my mother’s anaesthesia. Babies are definitely affected by anaesthesia, and residues of the drug will stay in the system for a long time after. A baby’s full ‘aliveness’ is suppressed by anaesthesia and it is this memory which was surfacing during my Rebirth Training.

It is also noteworthy that baby boomers are the ones who got into drugs in a big way in the ’sixties and ’seventies. The attitude has been, ‘When it’s too intense, we take some drugs and anaesthetise ourselves. Whether we feel intense joy or intense pain, we anaesthetise ourselves in order to dull the experience.’ The tendency of my generation has been to suppress our aliveness with some substance, rather than to fully live both our pleasures and our pains. From the perspective of rebirth, this is a repetition of the birth process where the mother, and by extension the baby, are drugged with anaesthesia at the point where the mother’s labour becomes difficult and intensely painful.

from ‘Awakening The Fire Within’  by Lyse LeBeau & Duart Maclean

Trafford Publishing, 2005

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Anxiety and the healing breath

The World Health Organization has declared that by 2020 anxiety will be second only to heart disease as the principal cause of health-related deaths on the planet. Many people turn to alcohol, marijuana or prescription drugs to deal with anxiety, but all of these options carry serious negative side-effects. Surely, there must be a healthy way to deal with anxiety. Yes, there is. And it’s simple, cheap and effective. Nor do we need to leave our home buy it. It’s free, it’s here, it’s now. It’s the breath.

Connected breathing has been around since the 1970’s. It goes under a variety of names, including Rebirthing, Holotrophic Breath and Transformational Breath, to name a few. Connected breathing does not belong to any specific tradition, although some say it is a form of Kriya Yoga. For our purposes we will simply call it, The Healing Breath.

Negative experiences can trigger powerful reactions in our bodies. The birth experience, for instance, can be traumatic. A child’s first day of school can be positively frightening. Being attacked by bullies, being sexually abused, being deserted, being fired, plus accidents, divorces, bankruptcies, civil wars, etc, are all sources of trauma.

Powerful emotions evoked by negative events are often repressed in order to be able to deal with the situation at hand. When we feel threatened we temporarily stop our breath in order to avoid the feeling of fear in our body. This strategy may appear to work in the short term, but there are long term negative consequences. Emotions are energy and when we suppress our feelings, that energy gets stuck in our bodies. The lower belly, the solar plexus, the heart area and the throat are the principle locations of repressed emotions. Generally, the belly houses our fear, the plexus our anger, the chest our sadness and the throat our frustration at our inability to communicate what we truly want and need to express.

When we begin to breathe ‘into’ these primal locations, the emotional energies that are blocked start to discharge. As these energies begin to move, we feel the feelings that we have been repressing. We call this process ‘integration’ because repressed emotions are being felt and accepted, no longer denied. We don’t need to get rid of emotions, because emotions themselves are never the problem. It’s their repression that is the problem. At first The Healing Breath process can be uncomfortable, especially if suppressing our feelings has become a life-long habit. However, after some initial support from someone trained in this form of breath-work we acclimatize naturally and become comfortable with our emotional body. Feelings come, are felt and then disappear. People who are spontaneous, expressive and ‘alive’ are OK with the entire range of their emotions. Their emotions are not ‘stuck’ in the body. Repressed feelings create a toxic environment that can turn into disease, as well as chronic anxiety, burn-out, depression, withdrawal, addictions, anti-social behavior and suicide.

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