Breathe

Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. ~Thích Nhất Hạnh

 

Life is breath.  It sustains all that we are –the beating heart, the sentient mind, the force that we call–with all the hubris typical of our kind– Free Will.  Yet, when we are staring in the mirror, bemoaning our imperfections or congratulating ourselves on losing those last 5 pounds, the magic that maintains that veneer that we treasure (or despise) rarely—if ever—crosses our minds. The wonder that is Life is something we notice only when it begins to fade.

Connecting with the breath connects us to the center of who and what we are. Breathing in and breathing out, slowly and consciously, is a connection to our inner selves that each of us has access to every minute–every second—of every day. The breath connects each moment to the next, offering us an anchor and a bridge between the present and the past. Always the same, yet always different—the breath is the food of life and the measure of our days.

 Journaling Exercise

 

Learning to use your breath to connect to your thoughts is a powerful journaling tool.

So, instead of writing now, take a few moments and just breathe.  Pay attention to the air in your lungs as it moves naturally and effortlessly in and out…out and in.  Don’t try to control it. Don’t try to regulate it or figure out what it needs. Just pay attention and notice as each breath comes and goes.

Now, notice how your breathing changes as you attempt to capture it (because you inevitably will.) Does it become deeper and slower or shallow and more jagged. Are you fighting its natural rhythm, or can you let go and give up control? What thoughts come up as you listen to your breathing?  Pay attention, and follow them where they lead you. That is where you will find the truth.

What we call ’I’ is just a swinging door, which moves when we inhale and when we exhale. ~Shunryu Suzuki

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