Yesterday, as I set out on my way to join the NYC Group Breathwork Workshop in Chelsea, I experienced the mechanical churning of my mind negotiating streets, buildings, passersby, timing, until I felt the call to look up, and beheld the sky. My body immediately responded to the spaciousness of that vast blueness, softening and opening. My breath shifted, slowing and expanding. My chest and head splayed open like a flower blooming, shamelessly. In those moments, as I continued to walk, I felt the boundlessness of that expanse continuing to wave through my being. What a beautiful and visceral reminder of the possibility of spaciousness, and the interplay of spaciousness with the specificity of our lives. We are our history, and we are not our history. We are the specificity of our name, our birthdate, our familiy, and we are boundlessness, unconditional and undifferentiated being. Love and an awakened consciousness invites us to play along the continuum of specificity to universality, and know ourselves as all this, releasing clinging to any one orientation along the spectrum.
The Hebrew word translated as mercy in the old testament is “chesed,” the steadfast enduring love which is unbreakable. It is not “strained,” as Shakespeare wrote in The Merchant of Venice; it is this vast and loving kindness, like that blue sky, that releases us from the restraints of history, and time. Emerging into the realm of mercy or forgivingness, is to open into the ocean of grace, a place that cannot be defined in rational, mathematical terms. It is the boundless sky, inviting spaciousness and oxygen in the midst of the specificity of our lives. Consider the power and possibility of this vast love in which we are held, even as we may perceive ourselves or the other as limited or flawed. Perhaps it is by way of entering into utter powerlessness in surrender, that we are blessed, and become the living power of love and mercy in the world. I invite us to practice the boundlessness of the sky, coming to know and experience over time, that we are this, and belong to it. In this way, we can come to serve love in all its specificity, intimately, fiercely, and with humility.
The quality of mercy is not strained;
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes...
The Merchant of Venice