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15 June 2013

The point between the breath

The following is a short excerpt from the excellent and extensive Art of Giving series, presented by Great River Institute's Scott Walter, Sensei. The second degree black belt at Great River Jiu Jitsu focuses on the four principles of The Art of Giving: Respect, Appreciation, Gratitude and Value. There is a cyclical nature to these four principles, a 'loop' that continues to circle round and round, exponentially increasing value. This short excerpt discusses the Art of Giving within the context of meditation and breathing. - MW

Giving and Its Principles
Scott Walter, Sensei

Most people who tithe are giving out of duty or kindness. But they are not realizing an improved connection to source each time they give. The same thing happens to most musicians – when they play and have a moment of connection, they don’t know how to build it into a further one, where it just keeps getting better and better. It is the master musician who knows how to do that, and it is the master in life who knows how to do that. Mastering life should be certainly about doing that, otherwise we’re not even in tune with our reason for being. How can we master something, including our reason for being, if we are not even in tune with it. It is almost unbelievably embarrassing.

Giving and its Principles

Giving is a universal principle. Everyone is a giver in their life. Some people focus on the value of their giving more than others. Of those people, some focus on the value of what they give, while others focus on the value of giving itself. We want to put our attention and study on the value of giving and how to improve our connection to our reason for being through our acts of giving.

This is important to understand so there is no confusion as to what aspect of giving we are discussing. The understandings we are exploring are aspects of giving that will help us be more purposeful, supportive and conductive to our reasons for being.

There are many forms of giving and just breathing is an ongoing example of how we give and take on a constant never ending basis. If we are to improve how we connect to the Divine in life, and if we want to make that improvement a constant, we have to think and act in ways that support it.

Breathing is a good example. If we are to become more consciously aware of our reason for living, through the process of breathing, we have to have some way of recognizing what the incoming value is and compare it to the outgoing. In other words, our in-breath has a reason and purpose behind it, which is something we have to know and realize if we expect to extend that purpose and reason through ourselves and into our world as we breathe out. 

We are the factor that distorts or enhances that reason as it moves through us to enter into our world. Our giving, in the sense of our study, is about becoming more aware of this process.

In order to become more aware, we have to become more cognizant of what lies upstream and compare it to what we are breathing out. The difference between the in and the out is our gift. As we become more understanding in realized ways, our outward giving, or out-breath becomes more conductive to the purpose we inhaled. The inhale is our way of connecting to source through breathing and our exhale is an example of how we value that connection as it runs through us into our world.

The principles which I am describing are principles that can help us build a stronger connection to that source value. This occurs as we act in ways that help the source value, and our relationship to it, grow. This growth has to be continuous, if we want a continuous relationship, and it has to be more and more apparent if we want it to become more apparent.

There is a dynamic process at work in every form of giving. Just as in breathing, something comes in and something goes out. In that process there is an extraction of value to run the body (heart, physical functions, etc,) and an introduction of value from the body as a result, such as a physical action, a thought, a feeling, a sense or some form of expression. The incoming, or in breath, is the factor which impresses us. But, all too often, we are so busy expressing ourselves, we hardly take notice of the incoming value.

This is why meditation is important. It is through meditation that we train ourselves to focus on the incoming value and the impression that value is making on us. Prayer is our outward expression. We are the point in between and it is through the process of what we call meditation and prayer that we begin to take time to reflect on our relationship to the incoming and outgoing values. We are the point in between the breath; we are what makes the difference.