To read the words on this page involves an action, a choice, will.
It involves decisions about distance (in order to read comfortably)
and decisions about time, to continue reading …
or to stop.
It involves curiosity; a desire to know what happens next,
maybe a desire to learn something new…
to explore the unknown.
It involves following your interests.
It could be the beginning of a journey
It starts here as I type the first words, alone at the kitchen table.
I hear the clock ticking, I feel the chair beneath me, the weight of my forearms resting on the table surface. I notice my breath as it rises and falls. Soon I will have to stop writing, but for now, in this moment I write undisturbed, and the extraordinary thing is that many months from now, maybe years from now, you will be reading my words,
and it will begin.
Just now my old neighbour walks home, passed the front of the house. I hear his door close as he goes inside.
Close your door… lets go inside
The senses: Sound from the inside
With eyes closed we begin to listen. First to the sounds immediately around us, to the noises that come from floors and walls, from the humming of air- conditioning or rattling windows, from insects buzzing. It is our first precautionary exploration, as our senses reach out to make sure we are safe. Our ears map the world around us, etch a monochrome landscape defined by sound.
Our eyes flicker in response to shade and shadow thrown, but also start (jump), a lidded blink to sudden notes, as surely as if the eye itself had been touched.
Our breath catches in response to the unexpected.
Perhaps only a new mother listens so attentively, or the watchmaker to the ordered calibration of a mended timepiece.
The ear is our finest organ of touch; skin so finely stretched and tuned that the vibration of the air itself drums a rhythm and we decode its depth and texture its notes and meaning.
The sound of the body at rest, the sound of the breath, of the slightest muscular shifts, magnified by the rustle of clothing.
The sound of warmth.
I have to listen intently. The sound, only just audible if I still my thoughts, like the sound of wind or, heard from afar, the wash of waves on a pebble beach at night.
Listening, I notice that sound is joined to sensation. The cool draft in my nasal passages, a breeze in a dark cave throws imagination further down into the cavern of the body. The effort to listen alerts me to the movement of my chest as ribs, carried by the air I inhale, expand. The muscles of the intercostals stretch, my skin nudges the cloth of my shirt outwards and then drops away opening a warm space between skin and fabric.
Cool draft of air on in-breath, converted by this pump, my body, to warmth. All this is happening every breath, how was I not privy to this; the sound of my body warming, creating heat?
My rib cage lifts of its own accord. Rises like the breaching of a whale and falls back under its own weight. It does this again and again and again, rising, breaching, falling, submerging, rising, breaching, falling, submerging.
I listen again, more intently:
Rising, breaching, falling, submerging.
Where, at what point does the whale choose to rise? My thought stops all movement. Everything is held in suspension. The thought looks for something to grasp onto. There is nothing, the thought ever more desperate starts to panic and creates its own beginning. “This is the beginning!” it shouts jumping on a raft of its own creation.
But before an instant, the whale has begun to surface “I did that!” shouts the thought ever more desperately hanging onto its raft.
Listen more carefully.
Listen like a plankton adrift on the deep ocean currents
Be a passenger on the updraft, (not the director)
Take your time, I promise you won’t drown.
I watch the breath emerge from below, the deep downward pull that invites air in through the upper passages to fill the caverns of the lungs. A tiny point dropping ever deeper into the body, like a bright jewel dropped into deep sea, as far down as your mind will permit. Perhaps to the diaphragm, perhaps the pubic bone, perhaps down to the pelvic floor, perhaps beyond through the muscles of the thighs, the knees, the calves into the feet and out beyond into the earth.
And then releasing, letting go at the edges of sensation it rolls over; the spent air rushes up and out, taking the debris of the body’s breath with it, swirling ever upward, retracing its journey. The face rests as though sleeping as the breath escapes, pouring over joints, escaping through crevices, taking what is not needed with it, the outward tide cleans the body and leaves the bones shining.
The breath washes the body
Breathing as an alternative to thinking
The sound of my breath connects me to sensation
The sensation of my breath connects me to my skin and my muscles
My muscles and skin remind me I am embodied
The pleasurable sensation of my body connects me to myself
I am sensate and from my sensations I know the world
Opening my eyes
My eyes are resting, softly held in their orbs of bone.
They are not required to inquire or defend, to calculate or mask, to hide or seek
My eyes are relieved of duty,
My eyes are permeable,
If my eyes were windows, they would have no glass
My breath enters my eyes
like the scent of Spring
in a bedroom
To be continued…