Hello humanity, we need to talk about your breath. I know it’s a touchy subject and I’m not trying to embarrass you, in fact, I wouldn’t mention it at all unless I felt it was super important. This is the type of thing that only a true friend would bring up, so here goes.
For a long while now I have noticed how you breathe. At times it’s heavy, at times racy, at times calm, but the majority of the time it changes in reaction to what is going on around you. You watch a scary movie and it races, you push yourself on the sports field and it gets heavy, you sit with a mantra and it changes again.
Your breath is a precious gift, it is the stuff of life, quite literally, yet you allow the world to dictate its pace and rhythm. This is super significant because it is usually something that goes unnoticed for much of the day but has a dramatic effect on how you experience that day.
Have you noticed that you can’t change your emotional state without changing your breath first? Try it – think of something joyful and notice your breath, then think of something sad and feel if it changes.
People seem to be affected by the world in different ways but the impact on our breath appears to be similar. Most people breathe in reaction to the world.
But it stands to reason that if our breath can be changed by our experience of the world around us, then changing our breath may well change how we experience the world. Crazy concept I know, but it’s something worth exploring.
The word meditation comes up a lot at the moment, with people looking for another way of being with themselves and life. Yet there are so many meditation techniques around that don’t return the breath to you but rather continue the model of changing your breath based on what is around you… You can listen to tinkling music or do a guided journey to help calm you. These ‘seem’ to work and you may feel better compared to how you felt before you sat down to meditate, but aren’t they simply following the model of getting you to respond to a different external stimulus?
I know you’ve grown pretty attached to a few of those techniques, but is there a difference between something that makes you feel better and something that helps you feel you?
The secret is to start as you intend to finish. If the trigger for that connection is something outside you, then the power remains outside you. If the focus for that connection is within you, then the power remains with you. It is that inner focus where the most significant distinction lives. We can try to still the mind by focussing on the mind, or we can still the mind by bringing its focus in line with the movement of the body. If we are focussing solely on our mind, we are not truly bringing more presence to our lives. The mind is fed information from the body, so the true source of awareness and point of presence is the body.
Your breath is precious and how you choose to breathe can have a huge effect on your inner quality, so this is not trying to discourage you in any way: I am just checking in to see if what you are trying is really working.
In my experience of meditation, it doesn’t need to take that long to be meaningful. It simply needs to come from you and connect you to you. The real benefit of meditation is not how long you can sit in meditation, but the degree to which you can live that level of connection in real life.
Connecting you back to you needs to start with something that connects you back to you.
The Gentle Breath Meditation™ has been something that I have found supports my connection to me. It looks and sounds like other meditations but the reality is that it is vastly different.
We can talk later about why it might be different, if you want to know more, but for now, listen to these free Gentle Breath Meditation™ audios and see how you go.
5 – 10 minutes a day is all you need. I would suggest trying it for a week to see what you notice.
By Joel Levin