Here’s a passage from my book Leap Before You Look.

Notice how you are already breathing in this moment.
Is the breath coming more into the upper part of the body?
Is it reaching the diaphragm?
Or is the breath reaching all the way down to the lower belly?
After just watching the way you are breathing for a couple of minutes,
Begin to bring some intention to your breathing.
With the in-breath,
Let the lower belly soften and expand.
When the lower belly feels full,
Feel the diaphragm expand with the breath.
Finally, let the chest and lungs fill completely with breath.
Hold the in-breath for a few moments,
Only as long as is comfortable,
Then let the air be expelled fully from the lungs:
First from the chest, then the diaphragm, and then the lower belly.
Just when you think you’re done,
Give an extra little push,
And you will find there is even more air to be expelled.
Hold on the out-breath for a few moments, before you inhale again.
Continue to breathe totally in this way for several minutes. (more…)

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Back in the late 80’s, Jacquelyn Small wrote a fantastic book called Transformers. It was a revolutionary book that influenced me more than anything else I can remember at the time. This was long before Eckhart Tolle came out with The Power of Now, long before Byron Katie developed The Work, and long before Satsang became popular. And in that wonderful book, there’s one particularly wonderful sentence that stands out among the rest.

“You don’t have to be ‘perfectly enlightened’ in order to be an agent of enlightening.”

It’s really worth savoring the taste of that statement like a good wine. Sip it. Let it linger on your taste buds for a few moments. That little sentence dispels so many myths and so many reasons we give ourselves to hold back our true gifts. (more…)

This is a practice from my book Leap Before You Look.

Lie down on your back
Under a cloudless sky.
Open yourself to the nature of infinity.
Let yourself move out infinitely in any direction
And be soberly present with the unavoidable fact
That as far as you travel,
You are still only halfway there.
There are no limits.
You cannot think about infinity.
It will blow your mind.
You can only become one with the infinite.
Look into the sky without blinking.
Let the sky enter you, so there is no inner and outer remaining.
Then close your eyes and stare into the inner limitless sky.

This simple practice, to look into the open, cloudless sky, has been used in every tradition in every age. I was introduced to it in the Tibetan refugee community of Bodh Nath in Katmandhu by the great Dzogchen teacher Choki Nyima Rimpoche. Once it is pointed out to you, it becomes so obvious—it was there all along. Many of us get involved in spiritual practices and teachings, searching for who we really are, and the answer is right there above our heads all along: you only have to look up into the vastness of the sky. This practice is great for modern humanity, as we have grown so used to a man-made world. Everything has been modified; everything has our fingerprints all over it, except the sky. The vastness of the sky cannot be touched, cannot be modified; it remains the last outpost of absolute innocence. (more…)