For a long time I have experimented with various visualizations with regard to breathing. Usually these involve visualizing something associated with inhalation, such as peace, and something else associated with exhalation, such as joy. For the past few months I have settled on the concept/image of grace on inhalation, and love on exhalation. I have refrained from looking up the dictionary definition of “grace,” because it is not the one I am using and I don’t want to confuse myself before I finish writing this. I am using the vague idea of grace that comes from my childhood exposure to religion, primarily Christianity. From that exposure I have come to think of grace as something like divine loving benevolence that is always available for the asking, sort of the way oxygen is available if one inhales. That I might inhale grace and convert it to something like human love seems but a small leap of faith.
The gap spanned by such a leap got even smaller a few weeks ago when I was meditating in a wooded area and visualizing myself inhaling grace and exhaling love. It suddenly struck me that the trees were doing essentially the same thing. They inhale carbon dioxide, which I have exhaled, and they exhale oxygen, which I am happy to be able to inhale. That such an alchemical process is all around me, and in fact making it possible for me to survive, makes the whole thing seem part of the natural order. My converting grace to love as I breathe seems almost obvious.Carl Rogers suggested that unconditional positive regard was at the heart of psychotherapeutic healing, I thought it was pretty obvious that he really was talking about what I would call “love.” What was not obvious to me was where that love came from. I noticed that intimacy seemed to generate something like love and I came up with the following postulate: “It is impossible to hate someone you have come to know deeply, and it is probably impossible to refrain from loving them.” This gave me an idea of a mechanism, but still did not explain the source of love. Perhaps it can’t be explained, but now the scientist in me is experimenting with inhaling grace and exhaling love while I am seeing clients. It would seem silly to refrain from making use of something simply because it can’t be explained.
© Copyright 2008 by John Rhead. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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