The Art of the Breath

On Saturday evening I attended a fundraising event put on by our local Unitarian community. The objective was to raise money to support refugee work by the Unitarians. A group of three musicians (in an unusual combination of piano, French horn and soprano voice) took us through a musical program ranging from classical to spiritual to show tunes to the Beatles. Money was raised and community refreshed. In addition to a range of musical genres we also being taken from emotion to emotion: sorrow, longing, laughter, joy and hope.

Because I have no musical or artistic talent whatsoever I always admire anyone who displays any talent and am usually in awe of those who display some degree of mastery.

As I listened to and watched the singer perform I suddenly thought of this week’s lessons by Sharon on connecting with the breath.

For two of the performers, the horn player and the singer it is their connection with their breath and the relationship of that breath to other part of their bodies that allows them to deliver their program. I also felt like there was a connectedness between the three performers – a love of music and affection for each other.

This is the second year I have participated in Sharon’s “challenge”. This year and last I am reminded how it is important to go back to the foundation.

To reflect on how I do, or do not, use my breath as the anchor.

As with a singer or a horn player it can be a struggle, and it certainly is with me, to learn how to develop that intimate connection and focus on the breath to the point at which it is no longer a self conscious process but natural.

In their most sublime moments a performer seems to soar. To be connected with the moment so that they actually embody the soul of the work they are performing. The past dissolves and the future will be but in that moment all that is exists is their relationship to the music, their companion performers and the audience. Whatever feelings are there are just there.

Correctly or not, thinking of myself as practicing mediation as an artist practices their craft is a rather empowering frame.


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May all beings be happy ♡