December 1, 2017
December has begun! The final month of the year is a time of celebration, and a time that shimmers with all the joyful good wishes we send to one another.
Have you seen Season’s Greetings from Gurumayi on the Siddha Yoga path website? Isn’t it mesmerizing? Each time I receive Gurumayi’s Season’s Greetings, I experience her grace flowing through the images—and I feel grateful to be a part of this global family of seekers, bathed in the compassion of a living Master.
This month, we look forward to A Sweet Surprise Satsang 2018, when, on January 1, Gurumayi gives her Message for the coming year. For me, receiving Gurumayi’s Message on the first day of the year is like crossing a threshold and entering a new and exciting chapter of my sadhana, full of new discoveries and transformation. Details will be posted very soon of how you can participate in this satsang at a location near you or online, here on the Siddha Yoga path website.
And we still have one month left of 2017, so we can give ourselves fully, throughout each of the final weeks and days and hours of this year, to our continued study and practice of Gurumayi’s Message for 2017:
Breathe in deeply the fragrance of the Heart.
Revel in the light of the Supreme Self.
Breathe out gently the benevolent power of the Heart.
Throughout the year, I’ve striven to put into practice Gurumayi’s wish that we make her Message our own. I made it a habit to repeat the words of the Message to myself a number of times throughout the day, and to enter meditation each morning guided by it. I have also turned to the website daily to support my study, and each day I have found profound teachings that have expanded and illuminated my understanding. As a result, I notice that my mind is drawn to the breath more and more often, even in the midst of my daily activities. Most of all, the study of Gurumayi’s Message has prepared me to embrace one of the greatest events of my life with a heightened awareness of its beauty and significance.
Very recently I was blessed to witness the birth of my first child. I will never forget the profound gratitude that washed over me as I heard his first cries and listened as the air entered his lungs for the first time, inaugurating his journey into this world. Today, as I hold him fast asleep in my arms, I feel the movements of his tiny torso peacefully inhaling and exhaling, and I have a clear sense of the breath as the luminous substance that life is made of.
This experience is vivid in my mind as I prepare to explore the last of the eleven teachings Gurumayi gave us to support our study and practice of her Message for 2017.
Gurumayi’s teaching is:
The sound of your breath is music to your soul.
The precious, sacred sound of my son’s breath helps me to become aware of the beauty and sacredness that exist in the sound of my own breath.
Sometimes I experience my breath as a quiet, gentle whisper. Other times, when I don’t perceive a physical sound, I can tune into the subtle music of the breath by watching its incoming and outgoing rhythm.
I have also discovered that when I shift my perspective and listen to my breath as music, I have a new appreciation for my breath. Sometimes I imagine this sound as the breath’s lullaby for the mind, calming it into blissful silence. Sometimes I hear it as the soothing song of a gentle breeze rustling through trees.
As I pay careful attention to the sound of my own breath, to its rhythm, to its pure music, my mind becomes quieter, and I am drawn inwards. In that quiet space within, I can recognize the blissful source of the out-breath and in-breath—and know this source as my own innermost Self.
This truth is beautifully expressed in the Brihadaranyakopanishad, which says:
He who breathes through your breath is your Self.1
To touch and know the source of our breath is to experience its divine origin.
One of the ways Gurumayi teaches us about the power of the breath is by guiding our engagement with Siddha Yoga music.
A friend who offered seva for many years in the Siddha Yoga Music Department in Shree Muktananda Ashram recently shared an experience she had in a music rehearsal with Gurumayi. As the ensemble was doing vocal warm-ups, Gurumayi noticed that some of the vocalists were trying too hard, and as they became physically tense, their voices were not fully resonant.
So, Gurumayi asked one of the vocalists to lie down on the floor in a comfortable and relaxed position. Then she had him continue to do the same vocal warm-ups. As he released the tension in his body, his breath softened and became totally easeful. The sound of his voice became richer, fuller, and sweeter.
“Ahh… so much more relaxed!” Gurumayi said with a smile.
This vocalist was the only one doing the exercise, yet the whole ensemble followed Gurumayi’s instructions while standing, opening space in the body for the breath to flow freely. My friend said the sound coming out of the ensemble was vibrant, sweet, and effortless—they were connected with the place that their breath and their melodious voices come from: the divine Self.
When I heard this story, I thought of my own experience as a professional singer. It is my highest aspiration, as I sing, to let the Self express itself melodiously through my voice. This can only happen when my awareness rests on the natural flow of my breathing and I feel centered and connected to the source of the breath. The voice that emerges in those moments resonates with the delight and radiance of my deepest Self. It is music from the soul, for the soul.
This year we have all made so many discoveries about the breath: it is the life-giving process that supports our existence and the invisible road on which we travel inward to our own Self. As we sing, or chant, or speak, our voices are carried on our breath out into the world, and when we are silent, the breath constantly plays its music for our soul’s delight.
Moreover, the music of the breath never stops playing as long as we live. We can listen to it at any moment during the day—while turning on the computer, commuting to work, washing the dishes, preparing for a joyful holiday season.
What a beautiful gift.
I wish you a harmonious month of December, and happy, vibrant holidays.
With warm regards,
Pedro Sá Moraes
Siddha Yoga Meditation Teacher