Starting to Breathe, Introduction

a rambling five-part exploration of how spiritual healing must complement lifestyle changes that will facilitate spiritual healing


For years now i’ve been implementing lifestyle changes from habits that are bad for me toward a way of being that is most conducive to spiritual progress. To a considerable extent i have succeeded, but sometimes i relapse and binge. Through experiences i’m having lately between an OSHO festival in Turkey and an OSHO commune in Greece, i’m learning that the reason some of these changes don’t stick is i am not focusing on the root cause of these behaviours – i am trying to treat the symptoms of a spiritual malaise rather than working on the wounds and conditioning underlying that malaise. 

Well, i was trying: now i am learning to not try; i am learning that through healing our deep inner wounds we gradually move toward that lifestyle that is most conducive to spiritual progress.

I don’t mean to suggest that we should just maintain our bad habits alongside a meditation practice and hope for the best – of course we must try, somewhat, to make positive lifestyle choices. I’m just saying that trying to make such changes without a complementary practice of spiritual healing is doomed to failure because it depends entirely on an ongoing employment of volition, of will power, of force.

By healing ourselves from within, positive lifestyle choices just occur to us naturally, powered by a rich intuition and characterised by freedom, not force.

Does that make sense? It’s one of those ideas i’m harbouring lately that makes a lot of sense to me somewhere in my Being, but which i find difficult to articulate in words.

Another way of putting it is that i no longer feel so much burdened by each time i’ve tried and failed to quit smoking, for example, because i’m finding the resources to initiate the healing that will leave me without a compulsion to fill myself up with hot air. After the Turkish festival and my first two weeks in the commune on Lesvos i feel renewed and inspired to implement some positive lifestyle changes alongside intensive meditation practices when i’m back on Lesvos.

It feels like a new start, but i don’t feel so much pressure for this start to be the final start. I don’t feel the need to quit smoking for good – i feel the need to heal, so that my compulsion to smoke falls away, rather than me having to continuously push it away, suppress it.

The terms ‘quitting’ and ‘abstinence’ are negative terms when a term like ‘starting to breathe’ is much more positive.

So, ‘Starting to Breathe’, a loose collection of thoughts emerging from the last month or so among the OSHO diaspora. The first installment is here, and there are four others because shit got long-winded. If untangling all this were easy there would be just a single word for it and we would all know what that word is already. Or do we already?

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