Chuck’s Place: Contentment

Who is your real jailer? - Art by Jan Ketchel
Who is your real jailer?
– Art by Jan Ketchel

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison. His ability to find contentment and meaning throughout those years prepared him to come to power in his seventies and transform a nation.

We are all in our private prison, contained within the four walls of our private karma, the central meaning of our life. The limitations imposed by our deepest challenges may prevent us from experiencing joy, safety, freedom and love. Our private prison, like Mandela’s prison, may severely limit our fulfillment through the most fruitful years of our lives.

We may find ourselves caught in swirls of sorrow, doubt, depression and deep self-pity. These are all necessary encounters, reminders of the transpersonal spirit that seeks to fly freely beyond the prison walls of our discontent. Our deepest sorrow is the song of the bird of freedom that beckons us to sing its tune.

When we recapitulate, we squarely face our karmic fixation. What happened in life that separated us from our spirit, that sent us into the desert of our discontent? Reliving, recollecting, and reprocessing the experiences of our lives ultimately releases us to the freedom of our spirit’s fulfillment. And this process, like Mandela’s, might take decades; no easy road to freedom.

But we needn’t attach to the outcome of our recapitulation process. Instead, we can focus on contentment in this moment, in every moment, through the breath. Buddhist meditation uses the breath. Yogic meditation uses the breath. Shamanic recapitulation uses the breath.

Simply focus awareness on the breath in this moment. Passively observe it without interference. Direct it at will. Gently deepen it. Focus it on the throat, on the solar plexus, on the perineum, on the big toe!

Count, to rhythmically align with the breath. Hold the breath; release it. Bring it to the tensest part of the body and allow it to gently penetrate and soften. Breathe rapidly if that feels right, fully releasing energy that has long been held in. Or breathe ever so softly, with loving tenderness.

Emancipation is but a breath away! - Art by Jan Ketchel
Emancipation is but a breath away!
– Art by Jan Ketchel

Placing awareness on the in-breath, on the inhalation of air—prana/life force/spirit—allows it to fill the body with its energy and vibration. Releasing the old stuck energies deeply stored in the body as we exhale brings contentment to each moment of our lives. The more we breathe with awareness, the deeper we breathe with awareness, the more we realize our deepest intent—to advance our spirit beyond its karmic containment into new life, full of contentment!

Simply breathing,

As Bob Marley sings in Redemption Song: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds.

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