Returning to the Ha
Always return to the ha. The ha is the breath of life. It is spirit. During your day, as you work, especially as you face difficult situations, notice your breathing. Don’t try to control your breath. Simply notice it. You can do this by silently saying in when inhaling, and out when exhaling, by feel the air against your throat or in your nose, or by being aware of the rise and fall of your belly or chest. Saying in and out is less thinking and more like repeating a mantra or oli (chant).
In Hawaii we notice the breath as being connected to the na’au. The na’au is located in the lower belly below the navel. Na is a plural form in the Hawaiian language, Au means I, me, myself. Na’au can be interpreted as from where I am connected to everything. With your awareness to your na’au silently say na on the inhale and au on the exhale. You are returning to the awareness of breath and body. This reunites body and mind. It brings you back to yourself and your connection to spirit and life.
Don’t struggle with it or try to perfect it. Just return to awareness of the ha. This is not a method for ignoring or running away from discomfort, instead it is for holding the discomfort or struggle in a peaceful presence of mind. Over time you will become stronger in ha or spirit.
I am sometimes asked to offer a blessing on food. The request is well meant, but ill educated. It is redundant. The food, the people gathered, the earth, sun, and rain that made the food are the blessings. Grace serves the purpose of recognizing the blessings of the people and the food. The highest way to recognize the blessing of the people and the food is to express gratitude and appreciation for them. Saying grace is a giving of thanks.
Thanksgiving is not a yearly event. It is a daily and hourly event. Any moment you recognize the blessings in your life you also recognize the grace bestowed upon you. It takes a clear and humble heart and mind to recognize our lives are moment to moment full of grace, but the moment you do you are filled with peace and joy.
A client was stuck. Frustrated. Life was not going well. I gave her some advice which she refused because she liked to learn the hard way- through experience. Many people tell me they like to learn the hard way, to learn from experience, and that is why they have a difficult time following advice, or even, a course of study. They feel they need to experience something to really lear it. I ask such people if they had to reinvent language to learn how to speak, or reinvent the automobile to learn how to drive a car. I point out that they learned language with the guidance and help of others, even if it was just having a model to copy. By shifting perspective it is easier to see the fallacy of their belief. Not every ounce of wisdom has to be gleaned from direct experience. I don’t need to have AIDS to know I don’t want to catch it. I don’t need to be mangled in a car accident to know I want learn to avoid it.
She began talking about her life as soon as we shook hands. Silently, I asked my spirit guides if I should stop her. No, let her talk. At one point about half way through she mentioned a man had asked her to marry. She declined since he wasn’t her type. When she finally stopped she asked me if she could get married. I told her she could have already been married. Who? When? You mentioned earlier a man proposed and you declined. Had you accepted you would already be married. Ask a better question.
I told her to ask if she could happily marry someone that was her type. What I didn’t tell her is that even that question is limiting because many people, including her, don’t really know what their best match is. It would be best for a person like her to pray to receive the best person for her happiness. A question often leads to a single answer, or more questions, not all answers. It is important to ask good questions to get good answers.
The young woman pounded her fist on the table and asked, “How do I fix my relationship!” A bit amused I asked, “Are you going to do this all by yourself.” Without hesitation she said, “Yes!” “What’s the point?”, she didn’t understand my question and began to explain herself. I stopped her, “If you are going to do this all by yourself, then do you really have a relationship with another person?”
Her mistake is a common one. People either get scared of not getting what they want, or of losing a relationship, they begin to try too hard and completely dominate the relationship. When this happens it becomes a relationship of one person with their self. To have a good relationship it is important to communicate and share in the development of the relationship. If communication, appreciation, and participation fails then the relationship fails. Recognizing this failure can be painful, but at some point it may be better to leave than force each other to stay.
Tokyo, Japan, March 10, 2011. A Japanese woman is looking up at the night. She was looking up at the sky expecting to see stars. She was startled to find a sky full of angels. She was confused by their presence. Then the earthquake hit, the tsunami struck, and she understood. The angels were preparing to greet and guide those souls to Heaven. Know this: even if you don’t believe in angels there are divine beings ready to support you in your worst times.
The woman said she was confused. I said she wasn’t. Yes I am, no you’re not, yes I am, no your not. You love him, right? Yes. You want to marry him, right? Yes. You want to spend the rest of your life with him, right? Yes. So how is it that you are confused? Because he doesn’t know what he wants. Doesn’t that make him confused? Yes….
I find women more than men will mistake their partners, children, and parents frame of mind as their own. Women seem to identify with the group, and lose themselves, more than men. But this confusion of identity leads to ineffective problem solving. It is not selfish to have distance of identity, to separate your sense of self from a relationship or group. In fact it is necessary to have meaningful relationships based on mutual appreciation. Journal, diary, take long walks, find some way to reflect and stay in touch with yourself.