Don't Forget To Breathe!
Hello dear Reader, Welcome to this moment. I’m so glad that you are here to spend some time with me. Before we begin our dialogue, I invite you to take this opportunity to take a few conscious breaths and arrive to the present.
Breathe in slowly and deeply. Notice and revel in the sweet sensation of oxygen filling your lungs and the essence of life moving through your physical body.
As you exhale, drop deeper into your body and release any thoughts of what you were doing before this or what you will be doing next.
Simply enjoy and observe the inflow and outflow of your breath and allow yourself to become more relaxed, more at ease and more present with each breath.
Beautiful. Now you are here and we are one in consciousness. In this state of presence and centeredness, we have a direct line of connection to the Divine and to the knowing that all is well. Can you feel that subtle sensation?
So simple and yet so often we forget to focus our attention on the breath. Our thoughts and the events of the day can easily carry us away and pull us out of our center. When we are not truly present, this is when we become most susceptible to unpleasant emotional states caused by unconscious thinking.
Did you know that you can’t focus on your breath and think an unhappy thought at the same time?
Pretty amazing eh? (even when I breathe consciously, I’m still Canadian…lol)
So the simple solution to many of our “problems” is to constantly come back to the breath. When we are present and fully inhabiting the here and now by staying connected to our breath, we have access to a level of peace, clarity, joy, love and creativity that transcends any situation or circumstance. In this state, problems truly melt away.
As someone who has always led with my analytical mind, I know this is sometimes easier said than done. When I first discovered that I could actually “switch off” my thinking machine and just be, it was revelatory and life altering.
Much like any other spiritual practice or tool for transformation, breath awareness is a muscle that must be exercised. When we first start doing, our first realization is often a degree of shock at just how little control we have over our thoughts. The more we practice putting our focus on our breath and returning to it, the more it becomes second nature and the easier it becomes to quiet the mind.
One way to connect to the breath and strengthen this muscle is the practice of meditation. There are various ways to practice meditation, but at the core, it is the practice of stilling our thinking minds by keeping our attention on the inflow and outflow of the breath. As we anchor ourselves to our breath, we begin to notice how all kinds of thoughts, worries, distractions and sensations can push and pull us from our feeling good place. The aim of the practice is to become like a candle that does not flicker, as Ram Dass once said. We might face storms and great winds in our lives, but if we are rooted in Being and fully present, we will not be as easily affected.
Beginning or ending the day with a nice little session is a beautiful way to get centered and clear before meeting the day or easing into dreamland. This is a great place to start and the benefits of this time spent will spill over into the rest of your day.
But what about the rest of the day? What about all the time we spend out there in contact with the world of people and circumstances?
In essence, life on the spiritual path is really like a living meditation. Things will happen, people will misbehave, plans will fail and life will continue to throw us for a loop. Our task as spiritual beings is to observe these experiences and flow with them without being moved out of our center, to stay connected to the Divine, and to be in this world but not of this world.
There are ways we can maintain this connection but the one that is most readily and easily available to us is the breath. The miracle of life that is constantly moving to us and through us from moment to moment.
As a foundational practice to everything else you are learning and acquiring to enhance your life experience, I invite you to put conscious breathing at the top of your list for a week and see how you feel and the difference it makes in your experience.
Whenever you find yourself feeling a little off or anxious or out of synch, come back to the breath. Stay with your breath until you are back in your center, until you are once again like the candle that does not flicker. Then from that place, you can go back to meet whatever life situation or circumstance is in front of you.
Thanks for reading and for spending some time with me today. Hope you have a beautiful Sunday :)
Don’t forget to breathe!
Published by The Daily Love (Aug. 11th, 2013)