Thursday, February 22, 2007

So'ham

So'ham, I breathe you in,
I breathe you out, so'ham.

I suck you in, thirsty and dry,
from farthest edge, the endless rim,
come in, come in, I pull you in.
I wash you in over my lungs,
these sterile, callous, leaden lungs;
I wash you in over my heart,
this burdened, empty, heavy heart.

I draw you in, I spout you out,
I wash you in, I spill you out,
I breathe you in, I breathe you out.

Avagraha, the serpent squiggle
that separates the so from ham,
the this from that, the yin from yang,
the me from you...
this stupid hiss of a squiggle
this stupid hiss of a distance
this Ourobouros separation...
that wraps and circles round and round,
that sucks its tail and swallows down,
that swallows up both black and white
and drowns.

I breathe you in without my eyes,
before, behind, beneath the cries;
in gardens and the palace, too,
glued to this parched skin that dries
for want of your moist'ning sighs.
So! so! so! so! Please don't call this bliss!
What frightful non-duality is this?

I breathe you in, my self goes out
I sing you in, hum my self out.
The feeble light in my inner room
coughs in the breeze and flickers out.



Shankara (India, 7th century CE) speaks of Pranayama thus: "Emptying the mind of the whole of its illusion is the true rechaka (exhalation). The realization that "I am Atman" (the infinite spirit) is the true puraka (inhalation). Finally, the steady sustenance of the mind on this conviction is the true kumbhaka (retention). This is the true Pranayama."