My first experience of rebirthing was perhaps unusual in that it occurred in a group, workshop setting. I was attending a two-day conference about healing therapies and was particularly taken by the brief overview of the power of breath-work given by Toni Tye and Lee Preisler. They seemed capable and playful and very open to life. I booked up for their workshop on the following day and I remember a sense of trepidation. This might be powerful.
The group of around 20 people was organised into pairs and, despite attempts to partner more experienced people with the less experienced, I found myself in a couple where neither of us had experienced rebirthing before. There seemed to be enough people offering support, so I wasn't worried about taking the rebirther role first, with no real knowledge of what to expect. My partner lay down beside me and, with all the other pairs lying or sitting quietly around the room, it felt like nap-time at nursery school. We were all encouraged to become aware of our breathing and to deepen and connect each in-breath to each out-breath. And that was all there was to it. Simple, really.
As the sitting-up person, my job was just to be there and 'hold a space'. With some experience of meditation practices, this felt natural. But the power of focusing on a person (rather than a candle, a mantra or a sound) was remarkable. My 'client' was just lying and breathing, but changes in her face and body were clearly visible - altering tone and colour in her face, shifting tensions in her hands and muscles. Most important of all, for me, was that I didn't need to know her story or her precise experience - simply to be there with loving attention. Around our little cocoon of breath were different experiences - people crying, laughing, different dramas. All was somehow contained in the calm rhythm of the in-breath connecting with the out-breath.
As I sat and breathed, I realised that this was the meditation I had been looking for - maybe even a job for life. A bit far-fetched, considering I hadn't even experienced it for myself: but breath-work has, indeed, supported my personal and professional life since then.
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