- Meditation Hall at The Abode of the Message
Just like many other retreat and conference centers across the country, the Abode of the Message, an interfaith retreat and spiritual center in New Lebanon, New York, is having a quieter summer season than usual. Situated in the peaceful, picturesque foothills of the Taconic Mountains, the Abode has always been a place for people of all spiritual backgrounds to gather. While it’s cruelly ironic that the Abode’s 45th anniversary year is a silent one, these quiet months offer the opportunity to build a practice of self-reflection that is central to the Abode’s retreats.
While the Abode’s doors are currently closed to outside visitors, the center's retreat guides have offered this elemental Sufi breathing practice that you can do from anywhere. This month, they share the fire breath. In Sufi practice, the element of fire fills your body, thoughts, words, and actions with a dynamic energy that lets you go out and change the world. This breath burns away everything that has become stale, rigid, or obsolete.
- Annie Forrest Photography
Instructions for Fire Breath
Using slightly closed lips, breathe in through the mouth and out through the nose. Emphasize the in-breath through the mouth, making it audible, while the out-breath is silent. Identify with fire. Be this red, hot flame and feel this dynamic energy that you are, this enormous energy. Feel the upward movement with every in-breath and hear the sounds of fire inside, and be aware of the light that shines forth from you.
Stay with the breath and the sensation of fire. When inhaling in this audible way, the breath travels through the solar plexus, located in the center of the torso above the navel. The solar plexus is the storage place for experiences not yet worked through, old wounds, and traumas. It is all the unfinished business of inner processing and it sits in the solar plexus as undigested food sits in a stomach.
When breathing into the solar plexus, there is this little flame that is stirred into a big fire with the ability to burn up and transform everything stored in the solar plexus, blockages of the emotional flow, and the unfoldment of one’s being. At the end of the inhalation, let the light of the fire rise up into your heart and exhale to let this light radiate out into the world. Be careful to let the light of the flame and not the flame itself rise into your heart.
Imagine how your heart—just like the sun—sends out light in all directions. It radiates both from the front, the back, and the sides.