When I was a small girl my mother quoted from the Romantic poets – while she was washing up. Some of her favourite lines were from Percy Bysshe Shelley:
Oh Wild West Wind! thou breath of autumn’s being…
We lived on a high hill in the Oxfordshire countryside. Our family home was a bungalow, quite exposed to the elements and when it was windy we really noticed it! I walked half a mile to catch the school bus and the autumn wind would sometimes seem to blow me along the path. But I always enjoyed the wind whipping around my face and through my hair. I often had to keep hold of my school beret. The lines from Shelley’s poem had an effect on my Soul. Although Shelley was famously ‘sent down’ from Oxford University after writing a pamphlet in defence of atheism, in this poem he seems to be saying that the wind is ‘breathing’, it is animated and we get the impression he experiences the wind as Divine.
I always felt a mystical delight in being with the wind, as one of the essential elements in the natural world, and I’ve often felt my isolated childhood was perfect for a nature mystic. The rolling Cotswold landscape is spacious and inspiring. Like the poet Wordsworth, I ‘wandered lonely as a cloud’ and felt very close to the sky and the clouds as I walked to school.
Human breath, called prana in the yogic tradition, is essential to life. In Jewish mysticism the ‘holy spirit’ is Ruah ha’Kodesh – ruah means the breath or wind and ha-Kodesh means the Holy. Soul and breath are almost identical in spiritual traditions in many cultures. In deep meditation you can often observe your breath naturally falling into a slower rhythm. The in and out breath begins to settle into very deep, very slow pattern, until you may even feel you have stopped breathing for a moment, almost as though your body is hibernating. The ‘wild west wind’ of daily thoughts, blowing your emotions hither and thither, settles into a gentle breeze, or becomes becalmed. Then the pure blue sky in your mind opens up a great inner vista for you to experience – this is where you meet your own Soul and realise you are a Divine being.
When you go out into autumnal weather and the wind chases you, threatening to turn your umbrella inside out, remember the wind is an aspect of the Divine – just like you. Greet the wind and give gratitude for all the seasons.
Bless the weather.
The reason I write my books, newsletters and blogs, and the reason I teach The Shefa Method, is to take you by the hand, so to speak, and lead you to knowledge of your own Divinity.