As summer gives way to autumn, the changing of the light reflects the ever-changing dance of movement within the Dao. At the heart of Pathfinder teachings lies the Daoist practice of seeking stillness while experiencing change.
You don’t have to study Daoism or Qi Gong to deeply connect with this basic principle. Simply find a rooftop, a dock, a porch or a park bench at sunset. Facing west, allow yourself to be present with your surroundings as the night sky slowly transforms from light to darkness. Take a breath, rest your eyes, feel the breeze, and allow your mind to settle. Be in stillness with the changing light.
Like the sunset, the movement of the seasons is a wider turn on the spiral of infinite transformation. Allowing ourselves the space to fall into stillness in wider and wider circles of understanding is the purpose of practice.
It is why every time we take a breath we may find ourselves in the infinite.
Try This Pathfinder Breathing Practice:
“A lifetime in a single breath.”
Find a comfortable place to sit where you can have 5 minutes uninterrupted.
Let your breath become slow, smooth, and even.
Breathe through the nose as silently as you can with your mouth closed.
Initiate your breath, feeling the rising energy of the spring equinox.
Inhale until your lungs are full and your body feels at capacity.
Feel the yang (fullness) energy throughout your body coursing with energy like the summer solstice.
Exhale slowly feeling your body release from fullness emptying and relaxing.
As your exhale slowly releases, notice the movement of energy inward, aligning to the autumn equinox.
When your exhale is complete pause in the emptiness and stillness of this place, this is the winter solstice the place of complete stillness, of the mountain and the root.
You can do this practice reflecting the energy of a single day, with midnight referring to the complete exhale and noon to the complete inhale. You can also do it for the month using the full moon for peak inhale and the new moon for peak exhale.
Autumn Is The Season Of The Lung And Large Intestine
On September 23, 2019, the autumn equinox occurs in a moment when the day and night are balanced evenly. In this way, the equinox is like a pause between breaths. It reminds of the static nature of before and after life. It reminds us of the power and dynamism of life’s constant change. It is a glimpse of what it would be like to step outside of time, outside of fear and desire.
In Chinese medicine, the lung and large intestine are deeply connected to the process of letting go and of relating to the world around you. Your breath keeps you alive by drawing in the air around you, absorbing oxygen and then releasing carbon dioxide. The lung is a superficial organ, but it nourishes the heart with oxygen which is then pumped into every cell in the body. The lungs draw in the energy of the exterior world into the body to heal you and keep you strong. They also exhale out the CO2, which keeps your body healthy and creates life in the trees.
The lungs can be like a bellows, strongly pumping energy into all the organs in the body and stoking the fire of life, or they can cool you down with long, slow breaths like a mountain breeze on a summer afternoon.
From the moment you arrive in this life to the moment you depart you are always breathing, always relating to the outside and the inside. The lungs are a bridge between the surface and your greatest depths. Autumn is the bridge between summer’s frolic and winter’s stillness. You heal old wounds by letting the energy of the season support you. The environment of autumn naturally shows you the way to release things in your life that are no longer serving you.
Open heart and strong root are the building blocks of a centered life.
It’s a cliche, but we are drawn to the beauty of the changing season. The leaves go from green to brown and gold and red in a matter of a couple weeks, and it is absolutely magical. Nature really knows how to tell a story and put on a show!
There is a story of autumn; a story of loss and transformation, of molting outer layers and seeking inner wisdom. You learn the story of autumn by becoming still and observing the changes all around you.
For me, the magic of autumn comes with some emotional difficulty. Darker days are emotionally and energetically challenging. Practicing with community helps me to maintain my center and my joy through these darker days of the year. Practicing with a community builds relationships, common stories, accountability, and friendship.
Celebrate the turning of the season and journey into stillness with me for the second annual Pathfinder Retreat at the beautiful Race Brook Lodge in Massachusetts from September 26-29th, 2019. Learn more and register here.
So get with your group, or come join with ours, but remember the power of community as we pass through the cooler, deeper root of the autumn season.