BREATH BY BREATH

Today’s Prayer to Passage comes from the book ‘Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World’ by Lama Surya Das. This evening calls for some centering Tibetan wisdom, and I am poised to receive an everything of peacefulness.

My prayer is, “Dear all-loving God, Whisper Your unending Presence into my soul. Allow me to release that which no longer serves me. Divide my true being from that eager and execrable contrivance — lurking backstage, feeding me false lines. I have no time for anything other than the assignment of the soul in its purity. Bestow upon me Your honesty, Your genuine words. Amen.”

This passage is received in honor of my prayer today:

“Breath by breath, let go of fear, expectation, anger, regret, cravings, frustration, fatigue. Let go of the need for approval. Let go of old judgments and opinions. Die to all that, and fly free. Soar in the freedom of desirelessness.
Let go. Let Be. See through everything and be free, complete, luminous, at home — at ease.”
—LAMA SURYA DAS

I am filled with music. A song, streaming into thoughts, is a benediction that I sang as a summer-camp counselor (what now seems a lifetime ago) following evening worship. Maybe it’s the hazy August air, maybe the cricket quartet outside my window screen. Or the perfumed inscence resembling a campfire at dusk. Something about this night brought these words to mind following the reading of my passage. “May the Lord bless and keep you. May God’s face shine upon you. May God always go with you, and give you peace.”

This song is borrowed from Numbers 6:24-26 in the Bible. In my own digging, I have now discovered that an archeologist uncovered this verse, etched onto a silver amulet, 35 years ago. The ornament dated back to the seventh century B.C. and is the earliest known portion of scripture. Quite a serendipitious song to have popped into one’s head. Perhaps this is the whisper of God’s “unending Presence into my soul.”

In the world of numbers, as I am apt to share, the chapter number and verses add up to nine.
6 + 24 + 25 + 26 = 81. 8 + 1 = 9. In ancient numerology, the number nine is said to be the number of eternal life. Nine is also written as the number associated with meditation and the expression of the Holy Spirit. Nine is the number of creation and fulfilling the will of God. Biblically, the symbolism of the number nine shows up many times, including the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22 — also reducing to 9).

It is in the letting go that I opened myself up to the fruits of the Spirit. The song of benediction entered within, immediately, upon reading the passage by Lama Surya Das. It is in the “freedom of desirelessness” that my true being arose to meet the Sacred. The words captivated me and I became no longer captive. In an instant, I harbored no guilt, no worry, no greed. There was only God.

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