a little something extra

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sabbath 4

I'm delighted to note that my friend Cristopher has joined the Sabbath blogging fun. I also want to put links in to Tripp's first, second, and third Sabbath posts.

And I believe Cristopher is right: a dinner party with himself and Tripp both as guests would be rich indeed. It would be full of music and laughter. Tripp and Cristopher both have amazing capacities for putting up with me!

Muller's Chapter 4 is entitled A New Beginning. He starts by letting us who are not scholars of Biblical languages into some new insight about translations of phrases and sentences in Genesis and Exodus (and Wayne, what's with the lack of chapter and verse notes?) Muller drives towards the point that God made rest on the seventh day -- that rest is part of creation, not separate from it or inferior to it.

About halfway through the chapter, Muller briefly discusses how important the Sabbath tradition was to preserving the Jews' identity as a people, as well as their religious life, after the destruction of the first Temple and the exile that followed. He draws a parallel to the exiled people of Tibet, noting that the Dalai Lama consulted with rabbis and other Jewish leaders about their experience of the Sabbath, considering how it might help his people in their exile.

That's interesting to me as someone who moves around a lot. My Sabbath practices can unfold wherever I am, under whatever circumstances present themselves.

Having drawn the line from Palestine to Tibet, it seems only meet that this week's exercise immediately puts me in mind of Indian yoga, which would be a stop along that line. The exercise calls for choosing a common daily event -- Muller suggests a stoplight while driving or hearing a telephone ring -- as a trigger. Each time that trigger arises, Muller says, stop and take three silent, mindful breaths, then go on with what you need to do next.

I heard a related recommendation on Lime radio, one of the billion channels I get on satellite thanks to a Communist plot of a birthday gift from my sibs and brothers-in-law. I was listening to Lime on the way to the gym one morning last week, and a brief spot featured yoga teacher Rodney Yee recommending a method of mindful breathing in stressful situations.

Yee recommends releasing tension from muscles in the head and neck while inhaling, and "lengthening the side waist" while exhaling. Since I experience a lot of tension in my head and neck muscles, this is an especially good idea for me. The lower-body relaxation associated with the side waist is good for me too.

So this week, I anticipate combining Muller's and Yee's suggestions, using the physical method Yee describes for the three breaths that Muller prescribes. Using the ringing phone would be great for me -- I have lots of bad associations with the telephone, which I am trying to train myself out of -- but I don't think I have the patience for that yet. I think on my work days, I will use the commencement of reading a new script as my trigger. On weekend days, I'll use the act of exiting my apartment door. And we'll see how it goes.

What about you? What daily act would be a good trigger for a momentary break, of the length of three breaths?


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