During the process of recapitulation it helps to have support. This support can come in many forms. During my own recapitulation, not only did I work closely with Chuck as teacher and guide, but I also did a lot of yoga and meditation. Specific breathing practices and gentle, self-caring yoga helped immensely as I recapitulated a lot of old and unpleasant stuff. I also did Embodyment Therapy to aid in the physical release of memory. These practices were extremely helpful and right, fitting my personality. In the beginning I also used physical exertion as a means of countering the mental and physical stresses that arose as a result of recapitulating, running and walking off a lot of the onslaughts of infinity, and doing specific magical passes to aid in bearing the tension. However, the deeper I went into my recapitulation the more important it became to allow for and find support for long buried feelings and emotions that needed not only release but to become acceptable. There also comes a point where compassion for the self and others, including the petty tyrants in our lives, becomes necessary for true evolution to take place.
The shamanic sweeping breath, a magical pass, was one of the most helpful of all breathing exercises during recapitulation. Breathing in fresh positive energy and expelling old negative energy belonging to specific memories, people, and places was one of the most important parts of my recapitulation process. This breath not only stirs up memories but vivifies them as well, bringing details of experiences to fuller clarity. As we breathe out we release energy that does not belong to us, replacing it, on each in-breath, with new energy for ourselves alone.
Yoga breathing supports and brings clarity to deep inner work, aiding what is happening in the unconscious and in the physical body. Learning to breathe into specific areas enhances and clarifies where our deepest needs, vulnerabilities, and issues lie. Breathing into the chakras can lead to encounters with our unknown selves, unlocking the mysteries of why we feel bruised or pain in certain areas of our bodies, releasing long buried memories physically buried in our very muscles, sinews, and bones. There are yoga breaths to open passageways into the body for fuller release, but there are equally as many breathing practices to slow down the onslaughts of infinity, bringing stability and calm, so that balance can be restored and maintained. Healing and self-caring breaths are as important as releasing breaths during recapitulation.
Tonglen breathing during meditation, or at anytime, is another supportive and life-changing process, leading to a level of enlightenment that gradually allows us to experience the world as energetically interconnected. As we breathe in the negative energy of guilts, fears, emotions, etc. and breathe out compassion, fearlessness, happiness, lightness, etc., we energetically send that positive intent out into the world. As we turn compassion for others into compassion for ourselves we learn how to let go of our ego’s needs and desires and replace them with loving kindness for ourselves and all sentient beings.
I recently had a personal experience of Tonglen breathing, experiencing it ultimately as the power of the energetic network that we are all hooked into whether we are aware of it or not. I was about to encounter a person with a lot of negative energy, a person I admittedly do not enjoy being with, one of my petty tyrants. Normally I gear up for such encounters by asking for help, guidance and accompanying good energy, by breathing and calming my own energy, and by continually reminding myself, while I am in the presence of this person, that I am just like this person, that I am the same, and that in order to truly heal myself I must achieve true compassion for this person.
As I was preparing to meet up with this person I decided to shift myself, to allow the possibility for this encounter to be different by practicing Tonglen breathing. I started as I left the house, first breathing in, one at a time, the fears, judgments, criticisms, negative attitudes, depressed energy, etc. of this person and breathing out compassion. Then I breathed in my own fears of this person, my own judgments, dislikes, uncomfortability, negative attitudes, etc. towards this person and breathing out compassion. I did this while I drove, a trip of perhaps fifteen minutes at the most. Upon arriving at my destination I continued to meditate upon compassionate loving kindness for this person, holding this uppermost in my thoughts, wanting to stay connected to this intent. This was all I carried with me at that point, feeling immensely lighter and relieved of my normal agita because of the breathing I had done.
Upon my arrival I was greatly surprised by the energetic lightness of this normally dark and negative person. It was immediately clear that this person had energy, and not just nervous or agitated energy, but actual calm and clear energy. The normal judgments and critical language, the depressed thoughts and oblivious actions that I associate with this person were overridden by this new energy. The lightness and clarity of this person’s energy lasted through most of our time together, waning only towards the end. My own energy, while I was with this person and even later, remained soft and compassionate, kind and open.
It was not until I was back in my car that it dawned on me that the Tonglen breathing I had done actually worked on an energetic level, as I have never experienced it before. It worked on behalf of the energy of another person, with quite dramatic results and it certainly worked on me, for I have no doubts about my own energetic experiences of that day. I walked in a new world with this person that day, in a world that had energetically shifted, in which we were freed of our normal business, relieved of old energy and old patterns of behavior. And it all happened on an energetic level without one word being spoken between us. It just was.
I am humbly grateful for the petty tyrants in my life, for the people who challenge me to confront my feelings and my normal means of coping, for the people who have hurt me, rejected me, abandoned me, for the people who criticize, judge, and dismiss me, for they are the ones who greet me on the path to enlightenment and ask me to change. At each encounter with a petty tyrant I am offered the opportunity to practice loving kindness and compassion, to energetically let go of what holds me bound and turn it into fresh, new, positive energy that really does make a difference, as I experienced.
Recapitulation is a many-faceted process. As we encounter memories we discover that they carry more than just the recall of an event. We encounter old energy, thoughts, feelings, emotions, judgments, criticisms, guilt, envy, pain, etc. We may also encounter many positive aspects of ourselves at other times in our lives. What we are also offered is the possibility to transform our perception of ourselves and others, as well as our view of the world. Finding support in even the most natural of life giving energy, in breathing, which we all do, is a practical and kind step to offer the self as the journey continues.
If you wish, feel free to share or comment in the Post Comment section below.
Sending you all love and good wishes, and good breathing too!
NOTE: A definition of Tonglen breathing can be found here or in Pema Chödrön’s book When Things Fall Apart available in our Store under Spirituality. Embodyment Therapy is described here.