(The Sorcerers’ Crossing by Taisha Abelar)
“From now on, you have to lead a life in which awareness has top priority,” she said, as if she knew I had made the tacit commitment of remaining with her.
“You must avoid anything that is weakening and harmful to your body or your mind.”
“Also, it is essential, for the time being, to break all physical and emotional ties with the world.”
“Why is that so important?”
“Because before anything else, you must acquire unity.”
Clara explained that we are convinced that a dualism exists in us; that the mind is the insubstantial part of ourselves, and the body is the concrete part. This division keeps our energy in a state of chaotic separation, and prevents it from coalescing.
“Being divided is our human condition,” she admitted. “But our division is not between the mind and the body, but between the body, which houses the mind or the self, and the double, which is the receptacle of our basic energy.”
She said that before birth, man’s imposed duality doesn’t exist, but that from birth on, the two parts are separated by the pull of mankind’s intent.
One part turns outward and becomes the physical body; the other, inward and becomes the double.
At death the heavier part, the body, returns to the earth to be absorbed by it, and the light part, the double, becomes free.
But unfortunately, since the double was never perfected, it experiences freedom for only an instant, before it is scattered into the universe.
“If we die without erasing our false dualism of body and mind, we die an ordinary death,” she said.
“How else can we die?”
Clara peered at me with one eyebrow raised.
Rather than answer my question, she revealed in a confiding tone that we die because the possibility that we could be transformed hasn’t entered our conception.
She stressed that this transformation must be accomplished during our lifetime, and that to succeed in this task is the only true purpose a human being can have.
All other attainments are transient since death dissolves them into nothingness.
“What does this transformation entail?” I asked.
“It entails a total change,” she said. “And that is accomplished by the recapitulation: the cornerstone of the art of freedom.
“The art I am going to teach you is called the art of freedom; an art infinitely difficult to practice, but even more difficult to explain.”
Clara said that every procedure she was going to teach me, or every task she might ask me to perform, no matter how ordinary it might seem to me, was a step toward fulfilling the ultimate goal of the art of freedom: the abstract flight.
“What I’m going to show you first are simple movements that you must do daily,” she continued.
“Regard them always as an indispensable part of your life.
“First, I’ll show you a breath that has been a secret for generations. This breath mirrors the dual forces of creation and destruction, of light and darkness, of being and not-being.”
She told me to move outside of the cave, then directed me, by gentle manipulation, to sit with my spine curved forward and to bring my knees to my chest as high as I could.
While keeping my feet on the ground, I was to wrap my arms around my calves and firmly clasp my hands in front of my knees, or if I wished I could clasp each elbow. She gently eased my head down until my chin touched my chest.
I had to strain the muscles of my arms to keep my knees from pushing out sideways. My chest was constricted and so was my abdomen. My neck made a cracking sound as I tucked my chin in.
“This is a powerful breath,” she said. “It may knock you out or put you to sleep. If it does, return to the house when you wake up.”
“By the way, this cave is just behind the house. Follow the path and you’ll be there in two minutes.” Clara instructed me to take short, shallow breaths.
I told her that her request was redundant since that was the only way I could breathe in that position.
She said that even if I only partially released the arm pressure I was creating with my hands, my breath would return to normal.
But this wasn’t what she was after. She wanted me to continue the shallow breaths for at least ten minutes.
I stayed in that position for perhaps half an hour, all the while taking shallow breaths as she had instructed.
After the initial cramping in my stomach and legs subsided, the breaths seemed to soften my insides and dissolve them.
Then after an excruciatingly long time, Clara gave me a push that made me roll backward so I was lying on the ground, but she didn’t permit me to release the pressure of my arms.
I felt a moment of relief when my back touched the ground, but it was only when she instructed me to unclasp my hands and stretch out my legs that I felt complete release in my abdomen and chest.
The only way of describing what I felt is to say that something inside me had been unlocked by that breath and had been dissolved or released.