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Simply Breathe


A few years ago, I attended a seminar in which the facilitator asked, “Who in this room has all the money they need?” I was on instant alert because I was sure it was a trick question. In the brief moment the facilitator gave us to consider our response, my answer kerplunked solidly into my mind: how much money I need has nothing to do with how much money I have. And as I further reflected, I knew that having all the love I need has nothing to do with how much love I have; how much joy, wisdom, peace—how much of any of these I need hasn’t a single thing to do with how much I have.


How much do I have? All there is. All the money, love, joy, wisdom, peace the universe contains is available to me if I would but share in the bounty. 


Let’s start with money. I know a woman who is very wealthy, in the financial sense. She has the financial resources to fulfill any need or want that could emerge for her or her family. This woman, however, does not believe she has enough. Does she have all the money she needs? Absolutely. Is there an amount of money that would have her feel she has enough? No. Is there an amount of money that would have her feel she isenough? There is not.


How about you: is there an amount of money that would convince you that you are enough? An amount that could convince you that you are the beloved of God? How much love or joy or peace do you need to be the presence of Love or Joy or Peace? If you could carry wisdom around in a backpack, how heavy would that backpack have to be before you believed you already hold enough Wisdom in your heart to live the life that God would have you live?


I realized that need is a tiny, but very tricky word. I began to ask myself things like: How much love do I need to believe that my relationship is satisfying and fulfilling? How much time do I need to believe that I can get through my “to do” pile? How much money do I need to believe I am provided for?


The more I contemplated the answers to these questions, the more I realized that need is a belief in lack. When I am expressing a need for something, I am expressing a belief that it doesn’t exist for me. I need more love, I need more time, more money—all of these phrases affirm that I don’t have enough, which perpetuates the state of need.


When we live in a state of lack or need it is because we have separated ourselves from the Presence, that which created us, which animates us and vibrates the very stars and planets and beings and cells and atoms and quarks of the Universe. The moment I affirm a need I also affirm the lack of the thing that would fulfill that need. 


At its core, need is evidence of our belief in separation from that essential indwelling Spirit because that essential indwelling Spirit is the source of all things. Try this experiment:


Center for a moment in your body and bring your attention to your breath. Notice how it moves freely though your body, supporting you and nourishing you and providing you with all that is required for you to do the work that God has put you here to do. And now, refuse to breathe. For the next twenty seconds, close your eyes and refuse to breath. Now breathe again. 


What happened in this experiment? Suddenly you needed air. But you didn’t needany air until you interrupted the divine flow of air and refused to take it in.


The essence of everything is right where we are. We are provided with all that is required for us to live and thrive and grow and to divinely express ourselves. Who stops the flow? We do, because we believe in need, in lack. We believe we are separate from the creator that inspires us. The Latin root of the word inspiration is inspirare, which means breath. That divine essence in the heart of my hearts is that which breathes me—inspires me—and calls me forth to greater and better things.


Bring your attention again to your breath. As you do that, notice what happens: you automatically begin to breathe more deeply. When we give our breath our attention, it becomes more full and nourishes and supports us more deeply, releasing more energy for living life more fully. As you breathe more deeply, ask yourself this question: what limits my intake of air?


Several years ago I had surgery to have my appendix removed. The day after the surgery, as I lay in the hospital bed, a woman brought me a device called a spirometer. She taught me to inhale with the mouthpiece against my lips, which would cause a small plastic ball in the cylinder to rise. My task was to maintain the ball at a certain level of the cylinder with the power of my breath.


On my first try, my inhalation could barely lift the ball off the floor of the cylinder. As I practiced over the next few days, I became able to sustain the ball at the desired level for an extended period of time. 


Yet the reason I couldn’t initially sustain the ball height was not because of a lack of air. There was plenty of air in the room. It was because of my inability to take the air in. Whether I breathe shallowly or deeply or not at all, the substance will always be there. 


Some part of us knows with perfect faith that there is enough air for us. Do you have faith that God is always there for you in the same way that you have faith that the air you breathe is always available? Is your faith breathing forth from your center so strongly and clearly that you don’t even have to think about it? Do you truly believe to the core of your being that there is enough for you, as easily and naturally and as gently as you breathe?


Although the air is always there for us, even as Infinite Substance is always there for us, we need to practice taking it in, even as I had to practice maintaining the level of the plastic ball in the spirometer. Need can seem very real when we feel lonely or in debt or in a hurry. Just because something seems real, however, does not make it real, nor does it make the seeming need the true issue. For example, I used to think I needed money to pay my bills. I didn’t need money to pay my bills, because when I finally changed my thinking enough to have the money to pay my bills, I still didn’t pay my bills. What I didn’t have was the discipline to sit down for half-an-hour once a month and pay bills.


I realized then that what I truly wanted was to be in financial integrity. That was the desire of my heart and to really get in touch with that, I had to release all my affirmations of need and align fully with that deep desire. Desire is limitlessly creative, even as Spirit is creative, and allows divine inspiration and breath to drive my actions. Need and separation keep me in states of procrastination and limitation. 


So the key is cultivating the discipline to breathe—to remember who and what I am, to bring my attention to my breath and to the desires of my heart, acknowledging and blessing any sense of need or limitation for the valuable insight those states provide, then releasing them, for they are not the Truth of me or of the Universe. 


I didn’t know how to maintain myself in that desire state, how to stay in touch with the reality of my Spirit and not get drawn back into my old story of need. My belief in need had come so easily for so many years. So I practice knowing that my faith in the provision of the Infinite Spirit it comes as easily as my breath. I succumb to the desire of my heart to thrive; to, for example, be in financial integrity. Then I simply sit down and pay the bills.


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