Focusing in Ireland

Breath - by Rainer Maria Rilke - Offering No. 3

Offered by Marie Mc Guigan

Poem offering number three is by the twentieth century poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Rilke's reflections on the divine and our place in the world are disarmingly profound with a timeless relevance.
I have taken this from the book “ A Year with Rilke “ translated and edited by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows. Joanna is an environmental activist, author and scholar of Buddhism and Deep Ecology. Anita is a psychologist, poet and autism specialist.

I choose this poem “Breath” because of its relatedness to life itself, the mindful part of focusing and the references to the elements air, wind, seas and oceans.
“Breath” resonated in me that whole interconnectedness of it all.


by Rainer Maria Rilke

Breath, you invisible poem!
Pure, continuous exchange
with all that is, flow and counterflow
where rhythmically I come to be.

Each time a wave that occurs just once
in a sea I discover I am.
You, innnermost of oceans,
you, infinitude of space.

How many far places were once
within me. Some winds
are like my own child.

When I breathe them now, do they know me again?
Air, you silken surround,
completion and seed of my word.


Take a minute of silence and pause, just to take notice.... in a focusing way what has come and what resonates...

And what comes for me.... there are quite a few lines and words resonating... the one I chose is "Each time a wave that occurs just once in a sea, I discover I am. You, innermost of oceans, you, infinitude of space."

I notice something like, that connection to the earth, .... I notice a felt sense and an image of a huge ocean wave and then 'I discover I am'.... something is coming about that connection to, that interconnection... and you know what come for me is thinking about Gendlin's philosophy of the implicit where we use focusing to connect with ourself first, interaction first with other..... self other and the environment, and it's that environment sense of something ... and then the two words... I AM .... I notice a breath a deep breath coming as I say it out loud.... just taking some time to be with and nurture the image of an ocean wave...connectedness to the earth and that I AM.
And that just brings me the sense of flow and another breath.

So I will just read the poem one more time.....

And as I read the poem again, I notice "flow and counterflow, where rhythmically I come to be" and that breath, the wonder of our breath and our body in Focusing.
And in focusing with poetry each time one reads a poem more comes.... and I have to say I really enjoyed that poem Breath and I invite you now to take time to notice how you feel...what has come, resonated, any felt sense, maybe take a note of what has come and I invite you if you so wish to read the poem again, use the meditation, reflection and read of the poem again...
and I close with warmest wishes from the Irish Focusing Network

Marie Mc Guigan

April 2022



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