“Waiting quietly for a friend” is one of the core activities of Seishindo. In this Practice we acknowledge the presence of “an intelligence greater than myself” and we invite this presence into our life, into our home, into our heart.
The concept of acknowledging a presence greater than one’s self is of course found in various religions, as well as in poetry from around the world, and it plays a central role in the overall process of Alcoholics Anonymous. As time, and my own practice continues, more and more I am coming to the understanding that a connection to an intelligence greater than one’s self is of prime importance for one’s emotional and spiritual well being.
(If you have done the Heartbeat Breathing Practice before you will find the beginning of this Practice exactly the same.)
As you go through this Practice you might notice that your body takes on a subtle rocking motion. Although this rocking motion is not important in and of itself, please allow such rocking to occur if indeed it does start to happen.
Read through these instructions first before actually performing what is asked. In fact you might want to actually read through the instructions several times before actually doing this Practice.
1. From a seated position, take a minute or to and quiet your thinking mind. Usually, a good way to begin the process of quieting down is to first take a couple of deep breaths. Please make sure that you really do this, rather than just reading the words………Please take a couple of deep breaths.
2. As you begin to settle in, notice if you can, your heartbeat. You might simply be able to feel your heartbeat pulsing in you, or you might need to feel your pulse by either placing your hand on your heart; placing your fingers on your carotid artery; or placing your fingers along either wrist. (Use any fingers other than your thumbs.)
If you can’t feel your heartbeat on its own and need to use one of your hands to help you, see after a minute or two if you can feel your heartbeat without needing to use your hand. This would be best in the long run. If you find feeling your pulse difficult, then you will be well served by practicing over time, until you can sit quietly and feel your heartbeat pulsing through you. Sensing one’s heartbeat is a primary technique used in many different health management systems for inducing greater body awareness and relaxation.
Feel your heartbeat while just sitting quietly, either using your hands or not: You might notice some body movement. This is fine.
3. Begin to notice your breath as well. Breathing in and breathing out through your nose. Feel your breath AND your heartbeat.
4. Sit with your breathing and your heartbeat and have the sense that you are waiting for the sun to rise. You can indeed be fairly certain that the sun will rise, but the time it takes is timeless and cyclical.
5. Now, imagine that you are waiting for a healthy baby to be born. It might be “your” baby or it might be the baby of a friend. The mother is fine and the baby is expected to be totally healthy, and you are sitting there, simply breathing and waiting, and supporting the overall process with your prayers and good will.
6. Now imagine that you are sitting waiting for “God” to arrive. Please allow yourself the opportunity in this instance to interpret the term God in whatever way is most pleasing for you. The mystic poet Rumi used to talk about “waiting for the Beloved.” Other people might feel like they are waiting for “Spirit” to arrive. Some people will conceive of God as being female in nature. Please conceive of God in whatever way works best for you.
You are sitting there knowing full well that God not only will arrive, but in some very important way, God is already sitting there with you.
7. Go back to noticing your breath and your heartbeat. Sit for one minute with this feeling.
8. Now sense or imagine that God is entering your space, and your heart. Please offer some simple greetings and words of thanks, as you continue to also be aware of your breath and your heartbeat. If you are in a suitable space, please speak your words out loud.
Something perhaps like this:
Breathing a deep yet relaxed inhale and exhale…….
“So wonderful to have you here.”
Breathing a deep yet relaxed inhale and exhale…….
“Please continue to help me.”
“Please continue to heal me.”
“Please continue to fill me with your love.”
“Thank you for my loved ones.”
“Help me to remain calm and confident.”
Whatever you would like to say next………..
Take your time and get into a pleasing rhythm.
Just go with your feeling.
You can repeat any one of the phrases as often as you like.
You can also just sit there with your breath and your heartbeat with no need to speak.
When you are done, sit calmly.
A minimum practice time would normally be five minutes.
Remember, when you calm your breathing you calm your body. When you calm your body, you calm your thinking mind and your internal dialogue. When you calm your body and your thinking mind, you calm your limbic-somatic mind. With your limbic-somatic mind calm, you feel your connection to Spirit, to God. When you feel your connection to God you feel protected, thankful, and calm.