Lately, I've been playing with breath and imagery in my meditation practice. What follows is a sequence I've been practicing – which I invite you to try. If you do, please take your time. Linger for a while at each step of the process. As always, feel free to skip steps or to depart from what I describe in any way that feels right for you.
In seated meditation, I start with an erect posture, my tongue at the roof of the mouth and a little smile on my face. Disengaging from busy mind and the cares of the day, I focus on the sensation of breathing – the feel of air moving through nasal passages, down into the lungs and back out – noticing, for example, the temperature changes and the sensations of fullness and release, as breath flows.
After a while, I imagine that breath is love. As I breathe in, I fill with love and compassion for myself. As I breathe out, I send love and compassion to all.
Next, I focus on the heart. I inhale love into my heart. I exhale love to all hearts.
Finally, I imagine breathing love in and out of every pore, so that my entire body becomes a love radiator, increasingly transparent to the flow of love. As self-consciousness recedes, there comes a sense of melting into love's radiant spaciousness. Separation disappears.
Later, as I reflect on these experiences, it seems true to say that, at some point in the process, I am no longer breathing love. Love is breathing me.