The Contemplative Companion for Monday, February 13, 2017

“The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus,
seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said,
‘Why does this generation seek a sign?
Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.’
Then he left them, got into the boat again,
and went off to the other shore.” – Mark 8.11 – 13

It’s subtle, but here we have an insight into the nature of argument and friction in human relating. Jesus sighs in response to a particular kind of emotional resistance – arguing.

Today, as always, argument abounds. It’s an atmosphere infusing our culture. It’s a by-product of the human lineage best expressed by the phrase “I think therefore I am.”

Argument is rational. Wordy. Reactive. Defensive. Polar. Abrasive. And it rarely leaves a positive feeling – to the arguer or the argued.

Notice that the level of frustration to a generation of argument is a deep sigh from the spirit. This is different from just a sigh of annoyance from the mind. A deep sigh from the spirit is probably silent. I can imagine Jesus’ eyes closing and head tilting up, and then I can barely hear Jesus releasing a deep breath from his nostrils. This is emotional Yoga. This is healing breath.

If you are resisted today at an emotional level – by your kid, boss, friend, stranger, try breathing. In the moment of heated exchange, before it boils over, try taking a deep breath and let the frustration or charged feeling out with a silent sigh.

Get the emotion up and out by breathing deeply. You don’t need to win the argument. You do need to keep your center. And not give up the pearl of your centered peace amidst the storms of emotional negativity swirling all around us. Breathing bridges the divide between dualistic thinking and links the mind and heart toward the unitive level.


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