Counting breaths

File:KamakuraDaibutsuSlide.jpgHow could you get breathing wrong? Well, you could hyperventilate.

I kneel in my ritual space to count my breaths, and notice how I second-guess even my breathing. It is supposed to be natural, unconscious, autonomic, but when I observe it, it becomes self-conscious. It fits what I have been taught to think about breathing, what I have learned about it. A deep breath calms, relaxes and centres a person.

Though at the poetry slam, before starting to recite, I took my deep relaxing breath too close to the microphone, and it echoed round the room HOCHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

But here, I should be simply observing. Is that first deep breath then learned behaviour, or is it what my body does, assuming this position? How could I know?

My anxiety to get things right:

Ah. Positive self-management. How to think of this, to feel the right thing? My anxiety has spurred me to learn many things, but it has also been too much for me. I have given up, rather than fulfil my own demands. If I practice observing, before jumping to conclusions (oops, that is judgmental) If I practice observing, I will see everything is alright really. Deep breaths…

Jack has the theory that people breathe more File:Man sitting under beach umbrella.JPGshallowly as a method of social control. We are taught this in childhood, and it keeps us quiet- then and now. If we breathe more deeply, we can be raucous, or boisterous, or Stand in our Own Power.

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I have no mind’s eye, but I can think in pictures. It seems that some people, with their eyes closed, can visualise things, which seems to be similar to actually seeing them. So I read of an NLP technique: imagine a bad memory as a small monochrome photograph, and a good memory in as much detail and colour as you can.

Some people cannot: a trick to develop the skill is to imagine a sandy beach, sea, blue sky, three elements, two straight lines, the photo on the right is too complex. I have tried that.

How to explain my experience?

I have actually thought in pictures. I thought, I could drive home by [] or by [], and this was a total shock to me: I am thinking in pictures– and the shock of realisation remains in my memory, ten years later. If I close my eyes, what I see is blackness, or light through my eyelids, and if I imagine something, like that yellow parasol-

sometimes I can know what it’s like. As if there were a black veil, but I somehow perceived what was behind it. This may be worth practising.

Elgar’s mind’s ear was so good he could hear an orchestra in his head from looking at a score. I can hear an orchestra in my mind, remembering a piece of music. The fidelity gets better if I concentrate.  I can hear the sound of a violin playing a tune I have not heard it play: that too needs concentration.

Uses of Memory

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/95/Rossetti_girlhood.jpgThe train left the platform, slid into the tunnel, and stopped. The lights went off. There is only the ghostly light of laptop and smartphone screens. Irritating. Philip and I have said all we have to say to each other, or all we can say, and we are silent. As the minutes tick on, I realise I will have to go straight to Kings Cross rather than get out further South and walk the streets. I had wanted to walk through the British Museum, its glass-roofed central court captivated me. Still does.

-Why have we stopped?
-Probably a suicide, jumped in front of a train.
And I feel such resentment. Selfish bitch. What are tall buildings for?

Smart-phones? Surely not, not in a tunnel, though people could be looking at old texts and photos. Oh yes, it was a year or two before they came out. Not smartphones, just lap-tops. And- did we decide suicide was the likely explanation, or hear about it after? And did we make conversation, or have That Conversation which breached our friendship finally, then? I am quite clear that I had wanted to walk through the museum, though from what I understand about memory that could be an addition coming into my mind later. Like in the song.

If I can unconsciously reconstruct a memory, and remember it differently from how it was- spoken testimony is among the least reliable of evidence- then, can I make it different, on purpose? I have met fantasists and liars, creating mythical worlds in their history or other lives, but this would be consciously for the purpose of contemplating reality and myself rather than deceiving anyone.

-I felt such resentment.
-I felt such sympathy, and prayed for her. I am sure she was female, whether or not we realised it was suicide at the time, or heard it later, or indeed there was some other explanation.
-(Oh no, she’s going to say it-) “Probably a bit of both”. Depending on which is most acceptable to hold in consciousness, what is swirling about underneath.

Someone asked about coming of age, and I thought of that Menarche ceremony. Then I thought of how F had worked so hard to prevent me taking part among the adult women that I had gone off and sat by our camp fire. Resentment. And- can I concentrate on other parts of that memory? The Resentment swam into my mind, seemed the most important part of it. I heard of an NLP technique- view an unpleasant memory as a small monochrome image, but good memories full of detail and colour. I have no mind’s eye, but the principle holds- remember other parts, give them prominence. That walk in the sunshine with S, perhaps, or the discussion with the other queers about exclusion- all the acceptance I had-

Can I change my frightened hiding, my rejection of the world, into joyous acceptance? Can I by vibrating see opportunities and possibilities, and grasp them? Or will that happen through healing if I just let it and do not try to force it?