It’s easy to believe that which I profess in words to believe, because I have a way with words. So well did I yield words that even I fell for my own professions. Then arrived a dark night of my soul whence I believed the stories my nightmares narrated. Thereafter, all hours of the day, imprisoned inside my own nightmares, I discovered what I thought was the key to my freedom, did not work. Words failed me.

It was then that I discovered while I could narrate new realities, it was not the same as meaning.

One breath at a time, I lived from moment to moment. In the early days, I told myself, “Every breath is a rebirth. If you can take the next breath, you are still in control.” I lived by the rhythm of each rising and falling breath. And as a lotus grows in the mud, each breath deepened my sense of profundity of what breath is, and planted the seeds of knowing in the mud of my suffering.

It was then that I discovered there is no bad or good, really, just how I choose to respond to “is-ness”.

These knowings were curious, for they refuse to be contained by the words I attempted to dress them in. And yet I knew, but how is it possible that I could know without words? There was a gentle certitude to these knowings that soothed me as I struggled violently to stay sane. Cradled in the refuge of their quiet presence, I began to see the clumsiness of the words we’ve created and how awkward the foundations of our constructed reality are.

It was then that I discovered how pain had made me vulnerable to the seduction of words that promised freedom from my suffering.

If not, how then can knowing be attained? This question led me to ask “how do babies know” because I believe they do know; “how was knowing done when they were no language per se”; or “how else do sentients beings communicate”. Simple questions which opened doors after doors after doors into other ways of knowing. With each knowing, my breath grew surer and clearer.

It was then that I discovered that each breath is a doorway to knowing, if only I knew how to pay attention.

And so I got curious about the breath, and very quickly felt like it was a case of “trying to learn how to swim by reading and watching videos about swimming”. So I switched my attention to attention, and did tons of research, which didn’t really lead anywhere. Then I got lost in the rabbit hole of “extra-sensorial perception”, and on it went. Until one day the penny dropped, “I need to use another tool other than my mind”.

It was then that I discovered the elemental purpose of heart.

Thus began my inner journey of trust. Of discovering the motivations, behind the motivations, behind the motivation, that gave rise to each utterance. Of befriending each and every emotion I encountered along the way, and heeding Rumi’s advise, inviting all to share their gifts of knowing. Of learning afresh how to sing the songs my soul wishes to express, instead of echoing the grasping of my ego.

It was then that I discovered the freedom that comes with being kind to myself.

Perhaps because I’ve discovered these the very hard way, hanging off the cliff of sanity with a few fingers on the ledge, I believe that our presence full-bodied, skin touching skin, letting silence speak, trusting where our breath takes us … is often the most powerful way we can honour the “is-ness” of another’s humanity. And should words desire to manifest in that space, it would ring more true.

This is what I believe.

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