Reconciling Polarities: breath work as mediation

Years ago I got really into guided somatic meditation. It was so exciting to experience a deeper felt sense of embodiment! I practiced it nearly every day, dropping my mind deep into my body. I was captivated by this deeper connection to my physical form and all it had to teach me. I felt fear and joy, numbness and surges of sensation, yet it all seemed to be rooted in an emotional response to a sensation or a memory stored deep in my cells. I was sold! ...and...disoriented!

This process uncovered a lot of new information but I had no map or container to process it. This practice left me with great tools for diving into my interior, yet the tools alone were not enough. Catharsis is fleeting, I was searching for insights. I was craving a well trodden map to guide me into myself, that connected to something more universal than my personal stories. I had no idea how perfectly situated I was to walk into my first Katonah class that very same year!

I quickly learned that good techniques for embodiment don’t just go deeply into the physical form, they also spark the imagination, so that we can simultaneously access a universal archetype! In short we are reconciling a polarity: personal embodiment with the patterns of Great Nature. When we use archetypes and maps we are moving into the practice of embodiment from the standpoint of referencing the universal, the cosmic, the celestial. This gives us a way to dive into the material of the body, have a sensate experience, and link it to Great Nature which exists within and all around us.

Breath sweeps are a technique for tracing an imagined route around the body on the ebb and flow of the breath, often ending up creating a pathway similar to a Mobius Strip. When we practice them we are taking a defined pattern, a set of predetermined pathways based in the dialogue of polarities and weaving them through each other and by extension, ourselves.

If we look through the template of The Magic Square (above) we see that the numbers are not in sequential order. This is because there is a need for reconciliation of polarities. Polarities are Great Nature. So when you go down and reference one, by virtue of polarities you must also reference 9. When you move up to two, you must also move down to 8, 3 references 7, 4 references 6, 5 is self referential, 6 references 4, 7 references 3, 8 references 2, and 9 references 1. When this path is followed in one’s imagination, there is an undeniable felt sense of a turn through a sphere.

Each of these sets adds up to 10. 10 is the archetype of polarity. When looking at The Magic Square you will see that all of these numbers encircle 5. So each polarity is reconciled by 5, equaling 15.

15 = 1 + 5 = 6

6 is a number of perfect harmony, the hexagon, the star of David, two intersecting worlds calling forth the existence of a third. This third space is the cross roads, the interstitial space, the liminal. This is where personal consciousness braids together with the universal, thus creating the

greatest form of potential. The placement of the human will in conversation with the patterns of the universe to allow for skillful manipulation of physical reality. In some traditions this is the very definition of magic.