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Background: There is a long history, in the Jewish Tradition, around the saying of God’s name. It might have begun with Moses, being told by a burning bush that the name of God was a word which we often render into English as Yahweh.
In the centuries that followed, there was often resistance to saying God’s name. Christianity inherited that tradition in the use of the word “LORD” for God: all in small capital letters.
Some Rabbi’s teach that the letters we translate ‘Yahweh’ were in fact meant to imitate the act of breathing. On this understanding, we can not say God’s name in the way we say any other name. In a sense, God’s name is un-sayable. But at the same time, through the act of breathing, saying God’s name is the very first thing we do, when we come into the world. Saying God’s name will be the very last thing we do when we leave it. We will say God’s name repeatedly, frantically, in those times we are lost or excited. And even when we think we don’t know who God is, in our darkest moments, we say God’s name hundreds of times a day!
I hope how wonderful that possibility is justifies such a long background for such a simple exercise!
1. Create a space of quiet and safety for yourself by turning off your phone, making the temperature comfortable. Consider getting yourself a glass of water and turning soft, wordless music on.
2. Place your feet flat on the floor. Inhale, slowly through your nose. Exhale, slowly, through your mouth.
3. Place your hand on your abdomen. Feel your belly rise and fall as you continue with your breaths.
4. Spend as long as you wish simply enjoying the act of calmly breathing.
5. When you are ready, see that the exhale is similar to the first syllable of the translation of God’s name “Yah.”
6. See the inhale as a related to the second syllable, “Weh.”
7. Continue to breathe, seeing each breath as a pronouncement of God’s name, a name more intimate than any sounds can be.
8. When you are ready, release your conscious thoughts about saying God’s name. Enjoy a time of union.
Throughout your day today, return to your breath. Seeing each breath as a calling out to the creator of the universe.
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