Conscious Breathing: Inner Task Series by Vesna Nikolic

Dear Wisdom Friends, 

I am Vesna Nikolic and I live in Toronto, Canada. I will be posting the inner tasks for the next eight weeks. Inner tasks are part of the inner practice in Gurdjieff tradition and their aim is to help us see ourselves as we are, to bring us into presence, to attend.  

The overall aim is to prepare the vessel, all parts of it, so that it can participate more fully in the cosmic exchange. 

It is important to approach the tasks with the right attitude, with lightness and joy.  While there is a tremendous sense of urgency, we need not, we must not rush. We need to continually remember to return, re-commit and begin again.

I wish to keep the tasks simple. Many, if not all, will look familiar. Repetition helps strengthen the muscles of our attention; it helps the tasks become part of us. 

I invite you to begin this week by bringing the attention to your breath. As often as you remember. 

We began our life on Earth by taking the first breath. We began by receiving. Our existence is sustained through every breath and every heartbeat. Life flows into us. 

Do not hold the breath inside or outside, just simply become aware of breathing in and breathing out. As I bring attention to my breathing, it can assist me to become a little quieter.

Can I feel the gentleness of God’s grace as it arrives? Can I feel the gratitude for simply being alive? I did not decide to breathe. I am being breathed. What is it that needs me and my body, on this Earth, right now? I wonder and hold this question in my heart. 

Naturally, as I bring attention to my breathing, the quality of my breathing changes. Without applying force, it deepens. It becomes a prayer. A prayer that does not ask for anything. A prayer that becomes active in me, that is in relationship with who I am. 

May you breathe into this day, and every day, with attention.

I leave you with Rilke’s poem.

Part One, Sonnet IV

You who let yourselves feel: enter the breathing
that is more than your own.
Let it brush your cheeks
as it divides and rejoins behind you.

Blessed ones, whole ones,
you where the heart begins:
You are the bow that shoots the arrows
and you are the target.

Fear not the pain. Let its weight fall back into the earth;
for heavy are the mountains, heavy the seas.

The trees you planted in childhood have grown
too heavy. You cannot bring them along.
Give yourselves to the air, to what you cannot hold.

Inner Task Series by Vesna Nikolic

Vesna Nikolic posted this Inner Task Series to the Wisdom School Community on Facebook from March 12 – April 30, 2021