POBI Statement of Intention
The intention for the Power of Breath Institute’s trainings and workshops is to provide safe, loving and educational environments within which participants can collaboratively share, experience and develop new skills and techniques for helping themselves and others in healing settings. The primary form within which we seek to support each other is in the formation of Sacred Circles of Empowerment, held carefully within a “Culture of Loving Connection”. Through this process, we wholeheartedly embrace the spiritual purpose of our lives, our relationships to each other and our world, and consciously seek to re-establish a meaningful and compassionate connection with Divine Oneness, Love, Truth and Beauty.
Culture of Loving Connection
A Culture of Loving Connection is created when the attention, care and spiritual purpose of a group is dynamically aligned with what is in the highest good and evolution for all members present at the given moment. The elements that go into creating and establishing this conscious culture appear to go hand in hand with certain fundamental principles of personal and collective empowerment.
As such, the fourteen principle ideas presented below are integral to this process. Each one represents a sacred covenant as well as an opportunity for active participation and conscious choice by the members of a group. Each one presents an aspect of empowerment that can stand alone, yet each is enhanced and amplified through the synergistic relationship with all the others. They are:
1. Safety is a vital prerequisite for the integral evolution of human beings. What makes up safety for every individual is unique, yet in all ways leads to a posture of ease, relaxation and unguarded responsiveness. Safety is the freedom from danger, harm or injury to body, mind or spirit. It is the feeling you get from being held and nurtured in a loving, supportive way, like the two arms of a mother around its child. It is finding comfort in what has been mutually agreed upon and carefully established. Safety has its roots in securing the sanctity of inner and outer environments, and relies upon the idea that there is enough love present to overcome any unwanted fear or threat. On the biological level, cells are either growing or protecting themselves; they cannot be doing both at the same time. When there is no need for defense, the resulting safety sets the stage for growth, and thereby opens the door to conditions of intimacy, healing, trust and transformation.
2. Trust is the assurance you feel when you are about to take the next breath. It is a relaxed reliability, a confidence in the integrity of life – of the viability of one’s self, of another, of an idea or a thing. Trust expresses a deeply held faith that what is best for all is sure to come. It is cultivated upon the sense that the current conditions are safe enough for everyone to be respected and treated with sincerity and kindness. Like safety, trust is based upon inner and outer experience, and is secured through clear, conscious agreements of truth and understanding. It sets the stage for closeness and makes way for increased personal transparency and presence of mind. Trust is knowing the earth will support you when you go to take the next step forward. It is the confidence that arises when the practice of fair exchange is brought into any relationship. Trust flows from the willingness and genuineness of sharing one’s life experience with forthrightness, honesty and grace.
3. Respect is the attitude that honors the validity and authority of yourself and others in the world. Respect begins with an acceptance and appreciation of the sacredness of all things. It is the positive regard you give to the thoughts, feelings, words and actions of yourself and others. Respect is what you learn to offer in your relationship to life as you mature in the wisdom of lived experience. It is feeling good enough about yourself to honor and protect the physical, energetic and personal property of others. It is the confidence you have in what is true and fair. To show respect for yourself and others is to make way for the delivery of goodness, for it heralds the honest coherence within all of life’s relationships. Deep respect is like the two hands that when put together say, Namaste: “I bow to the Divine within you”. Respect is the barometer of cohesiveness within a group, and a precursor to living with openness, honor and fair exchange.
4 . Commitment is the invitation to come together with shared interest, dedication and purpose. Commitment is founded upon a sense of promise and hope, and cultivates the willingness to go through hardship in order to fulfill our deepest desire: the experience of loving connection. To commit oneself to a person or an idea is to build a sacred bond of trust, a promise of follow-through, which allows for the interconnectedness and creativity of life to be fulfilled. Commitment recognizes the necessity of being accountable to the needs of others, especially as reflected in those present. Commitment offers the possibility, through a dedication of free will, of attending to those needs according to the highest good of all involved. Commitment sets the stage for a deeper layer of understanding within a group and is the devotion necessary for creating new opportunities of personal and collaborative expression.
5. Openness makes way for the clarity and direction that purpose provides. Openness is the quality or state of being receptive to what is appearing before you now. It increases your accessibility and sensitivity of awareness. Openness is the heart of childlike innocence, and combined with honesty leads you to the highest level of clear-minded perception. It is the sound of “Oh” and the expression of open-mouthed wonder. Openness happens when all defensiveness has been dropped and you are free to look at things in a brand new way. It is the encouragement you receive from your soul to see things with transparency and feel things with purity. Openness makes no assumptions about anything and initiates a willingness to interact with others freely, undefended and with freshness. Openness is the essential nature of the Divine Child, and it is how most of us began our journey on planet earth.
6. Willingness is the active, intentional participation in what is happening right now. Willingness says, “I am ready”, and prepares you for a journey of discovery, transformation and new awareness. It adds fertility to the minds receptivity and encourages you to ascend to new levels of understanding and comprehension. Willingness sets the stage for “teachability”, and gets you ready to learn by promoting your desire to grow and unearth new things. Willingness is the act of adopting a favorable approach toward the lessons appearing in your life, of “feeling the fear and doing it anyway”. Willingness realigns you with the spiritual purpose of your life, and enthusiastically calls forth the inner courage needed for insight, perseverance and patience. Simply put, willingness is the voice and choice of a soul wanting to grow.
7. Acceptance is to consciously embrace the reality of what is. Acceptance is the first step that you must take in order to return your full awareness to the present moment. It is the courage to plant your foot firmly upon the ground in front of you. Acceptance and awareness go hand in hand, for they both lead to each other. You can only accept that of which you are aware, and you can only be aware of that which you accept. Acceptance is the natural result of living with trust and innocence, respect and openness. It is what happens when you “meet your story with awareness” and stand in the center of your truth. It implies making a choice to openly face and affirm what is before you without any conditions, preconceptions or expectations. It means letting go of any need to pretend or seek external approval or validation. Acceptance is the doorway to the conscious understanding and forgiveness of others and yourself.
8. Forgiveness is the “doorway to freedom through the song of a loving heart”. Forgiveness creates an attitude that helps you to ameliorate the pain of the past and stay present when someone commits “a wrong” against you. It is having sufficient faith in the goodness of all things so painful words and actions are seen for what they truly are: cries of a lonely heart. Forgiveness is learning to let go of the control and fear around what you thought should have happened by accepting completely what actually did happen. It is realizing that by placing the blame outside of yourself you lose the opportunity for deeper understanding and self-awareness. Learning the art of forgiveness raises your capacity to love to such a degree you are willing to climb up the most difficult mountain of all: forgiving yourself. Forgiving yourself means you are not only willing to admit your humanness, but you now have enough courage to start releasing self-blame and start rebuilding self-love through honesty, acceptance, communication and compassion.
9. Honesty is the gift that heightens awareness in the direction of reality. It is the unabashed innocence of standing naked in the light of Truth. Honesty is the capacity for human consciousness to create credibility, agreement, harmony, and peace. Even though this capacity is fundamental, human choice can either contribute to it or work against it. Honesty and truthfulness are the most important gifts you give back to the world, and faithfully reveal your current level of integrity. Honesty is the readiness to let go of all deception and embrace what is difficult. It is learning to see clearly and free yourself from prejudice. Honesty always leads to a greater awareness of what is real, and generates responses that ultimately make life more enjoyable and enriching. Meeting life with honesty is the essence of humility and is a precursor for compassionate service, for it creates a foundation of sustainable, interconnected relationships that can then lead to the highest choice and upliftment for all.
10. Communication is the natural exchange of information that recalls the heart, body and mind to order. It is the energetic communion or transfer found between two or more individuals seeking to consciously connect. Within a setting of safety and trust, communication becomes the vehicle for expressions of love, compassion, truth, wisdom and understanding, and creates a web of mutual exchange and deeper levels of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual synergy. Communication acts like water in that the transmitted energy seems to take the shape of that which can magnetically hold or receive it. Communication releases tension and lubricates all conflict in the places where misunderstandings may have occurred. It is the gateway to resolving personal and collective difficulties. Communication is the principle path we use to expand and uplift ourselves and each other through exchanges of honest thought, healing energy and loving support.
11. Wisdom is the delicious and gracious cornucopia of life’s truths, harvested from lessons learned and rewards received. Wisdom is the hard-won treasure of the heroes quest brought back to enrich the people of the land. It is the essence of combined intelligence found in those who are wholeheartedly present, and can lead to the highest right action for those sharing sincere desire and intent. Creative expressions of wisdom happen when individuals are allowed to feel safe enough to respond from the core of their deepest knowing. It is the gold at the end of a rainbow. Listening to the radiant wisdom equally present in everyone is the practice and reward of honest, respectful and collaborative sharing. Wisdom naturally enlightens us because the information shared shows us how we can respond to the complexities of life with more efficiency, perspective, humor, grace and love.
12. Responsibility literally means the ability to respond to the reality of the moment. Responsibility is born out of the choice to be alive and fully present in the best possible way right now. It is like the motivation of a beaver wanting to create a dam. It is the quality of assuming ownership without ever owning, of learning self-control without ever feeling the need to control or dominate others. Responsibility is what happens when you realize and trust you are one with all things and an integral part of the Web of Life. It is the accountability you feel when making a correct choice, and the urge to take appropriate action when something is out of alignment. Responsibility is a sign of inner maturity and a recognition that the integration of your life’s lessons has been distilled enough to give you the ability to choose wisely and act accordingly. Responsibility is integral to the development of co-creative consciousness and naturally leads to a sense of integrity, trustworthiness and cooperation.
13. Gratitude is the attitude of a smiling heart! It flows from the goodness that life has to offer and spreads that goodness for the upliftment of all. Gratitude is the song that Joy sings to the world, for it smoothes the hard edges of reality. Gratitude is the innocence of a child in a field of flowers. It is the warmth of remembering that brings laughter to and pokes holes in all resistance, fear and judgment. Gratitude opens the heart and makes you supple and soft to the miracle of life and the ways of the world. It nudges you to see the support you need is often standing right there in front of you. Gratitude encourages, strengthens and realigns your soul’s purpose to the simplicity of being, and opens up a doorway for Love to enter. It is the thankfulness you feel for the start of another day. Gratitude is the fire-tender for the principle that “God is good and God is everything.”
14. Appreciation is an act of thankfulness; it is gratefully recognizing you are special, those around you are special, and everyone and everything is unique and filled with divine goodness. Appreciation is inner esteem outwardly expressed. It is the warm gesture of faith that acknowledges the path of Beauty upon which we walk. It is taking the time in the busy-ness of life to stop, breathe and remember who you are, and to acknowledge how far you and others have come. It is the charitable act of sharing your benevolence with the people, places and things that have contributed to your growth, experience and wisdom. Appreciation can be as simple as a thoughtful response, a helping hand or a straightforward act of kindness. It is the reward and validation you give yourself by noticing the works of others. Appreciation is the voice of Oneness within you in loving proclamation of the wonder and splendor of all Life.
These fourteen principal ideas appear to be essential ingredients for creating and cultivating a group culture to the level of its highest functioning. Once established, a Culture of Loving Connection is preserved through the willingness of the group members to contribute time and energy to the ongoing maintenance of these principles. Regardless of skill level or maturity, the readiness and enthusiasm with which each and every participant responds to this culture seems to be essential to the cohesion and overall success of a group.