From early on, my meditation practice has oriented toward the Emptiness – a vast and spacious silence at the innermost core of being. The route feels familiar to me - often aided by gently following my out-breath toward the deep quiet, with a pause at the end of each exhale. Usually, at some point, I’m breathing ever so faintly. The silence is wonderful and, of course, is always interrupted - sometimes quickly, sometimes not so quickly.
From study and personal experience, I’ve come to know that the Emptiness is amazingly full. In this vast and spacious silence, all is present. What’s within joins what’s all around. Allness and Emptiness are one.
In a recent Kindred Spirits gathering, Joan Borysenko, a gifted teacher and author, presented the practice of still-point breathing. In each cycle of breath, there are two still points or pauses: one at the end of inhalation and one at the end of exhalation. By focusing awareness on these still points and gently entering them in a meditation practice, avenues can be opened into the quiet nature of Self and the Universe
As I sat with the practice, I sensed that the stillness at the top of inhalation was the stillness of Allness. And the stillness at the end of exhalation was the stillness of Emptiness. Breath, with its still points, mirrors the unity of Allness and Emptiness.
Borrowing from Joan, I introduced still-point breathing to a spiritual growth/meditation group I facilitate. The results were remarkable. Folks found it an accessible and practical way to deepen their practice.
Perhaps you will too.