Breath, let go, evolve!
















Our first breathing ancestors emerging from the water…

Today’s post is my final tribute to the mystery of our vestigial Cranial Nerve “0” and the vomeronasal organ it supplies.

It’s not habitual for me to spend a whole month paying attention to just one thing, learning, practicing. It’s been soothing, and that’s good because, to be frank, I didn’t really need excitement this month what with the USA re-opening public spaces again. With all the excitement, I needed calming and centering.

I often ask my students to bring their attention to the tip of their nose, right between the left and right sides of the nostril cartilages. This simple spatial prompt is easy for almost everyone to use. When they play with it while walking, meditating, or doing any movement, it tends to ease the balance of the head on the body. It’s one of my favorite starting points for self-awareness.

Inside it, that small vomeronasal organ resides, the oldest “sense”, the ancestor of all of our senses. It evolved in bony fish called tetrapods, the first creatures to have 4 limbs, and is related also to the evolution of lungs. The lungs evolved to get rid of Co2 – gas that is toxic when concentrated in the body, but is essential to life. The nose leads the head, and its nature is to expel…and receive.

This morning, while I was sitting in meditation with friends, I realized how amazing it is to simply receive air. What a gift. Not to try hard to get it, or to focus on it, but just to receive it fully. And…to give it fully away. The whole world of receiving and giving, and of letting go was present for me. The folks I practice with follow meditation with a short “temple cleaning practice” and the point of temple cleaning was described to me like this:

“If you don’t clean the dust from corners of your room, pretty soon your room is full of dirt.”

I’m not sure who the source of the quote was. As I was exhaling during meditation, I heard this voice in my head say “letting go of the garbage”. (No this post is not about halitosis!) OOOO it felt so good. I sometimes think I’ve let go of mental garbage, only to turn around and still find it lying around in the corner. A good example would be my plans for the day. When I meditate, these plans often pile themselves up in my mind…big stinky pile of plans! My mind wants to hold onto that pile and carry it around with me, but as I start my day, without fail, something other than my plans happens instead.

I’ll think O no! But I have to do __________! Part of my mind is busy carrying around my plan-garbage, so while I’m doing what I actually have to do, I proceed to simultaneously mentally do the thing which I can’t get to yet. Exhausting.

In a lot of ways, everything that I think, or notice, or experience, is something to be let go of. Sweep it up, put it in the dustbin, and see what happens next. Bringing attention to our body in the moment, if it’s done simply, can help us loosen the grip on all the garbage. Look at our ancestors…they let go of water for land and air. Something about it must have been enticing…

So just for today, spend a few minutes giving this ancient ancestor take the lead.

Let the tip of your nose dance in space as you move and breath…inhale

let your eyes follow your nose…exhale

your ears follow your eyes…inhale

Your heart follows your ears…your body follows your heart…

Let go of the past and receive the day!

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