I learned this last week that most of the world who listens to American music doesn’t understand English. This highlighted an image that has been growing in my mind for the past few years:
God’s Spirit is not riding on words. Or concepts. Or any human understanding or human articulation. We’ve been pouring our energy into the wrong places for decades.
God’s Spirit rides on breath. The very thing that keeps us alive. The very thing that carries our voices from deep parts in us to deep parts in each other.
It’s not just an idea. It’s not an incantation. It’s real. And it’s something we experience on a daily basis — a moment-by-moment, breath-by-breath, basis.
We’ve been trying to access our spirituality with words, ideas, and the understanding of concepts. But we don’t need to understand breathing to breathe. Healthy breathing requires letting go… it does not require any level of understanding, only trust. Our connection to deep parts in our own Self, our connection to deep parts in each other, our connection to God, and our connection to the moment we are actually in is facilitated by the Breath of God — the Spirit of God.
We have a Helper. Now, it is time to receive the help.
We can start by practicing a very simple, yet very difficult thing: coming back to where we are. Can I just be right here, just for a moment? Can I notice that, even without any help from me — without any of my own understanding — I am breathing (or, you could say that I am being breathed)? Can I disconnect, in this moment, from all of the things I am accepting responsibility for making happen outside of my own body — in the world, in my work, in my house? Can I just be, right here, just for a moment? Can I feel the way my body adjusts to letting go of the weight of the world? What does that feel like, physically in your body? Something changes. If you can feel that change, you can feel the importance of this. This is a change that is waiting to happen.
This simple step is just the beginning. This posture is available in other moments and other situations… it is available in every moment. We can call this posture rest. We can call it worship — a very different definition of “worship” than I grew up with, but as I experience it in my body, everything I’ve learned in the past begins to make sense, not only conceptually, but physically, in my own body. And I realize, this stuff is real. Then I realize, this stuff is HARD! I can barely hold this posture for 3 seconds… how could I ever hope to stay here throughout the day?
Not only can we take this posture throughout the day, but we can take this posture through the hard days. We can take this posture through storms. We have a Helper. And this is where our strength lies — not in our understanding of concepts, but in the tapping into our actual power as human beings. And, yes, it feels impossible… so we start with one moment: this moment (we can only ever do that), and we practice. Letting go, and letting go, and letting go again. Dipping our toe into trust.
And the more we let go — the more we trust — the more we feel the truth: that we were never the ones in charge of keeping us alive; we were never in charge of keeping ourselves afloat; we were never the ones holding the world together. We can let go. We are free to just be.