By Matt Mullen
From the moment we are born a story is being told to us. Another way of saying this is that from the moment we are born, the world is being described to you by other people who have had it described to them, over and over, down through the ages. This description is neither good nor bad. It just is. This is fairly easy to see when one gives it any attention. However, something came before the story, that is your breath.
We enter this world on the inhale..we exit it on the exhale. Consider the power and potential in your breath. It is unique to you, you could say it’s your oldest friend, old reliable, never judging you, always looking out for you, even though we usually pay it little attention. It’s not jealous, however. Your breath stays loyal to you, far more loyal than your fickle, transitory thoughts. And the breath, when given a little love and attention will reward you with a treasure trove: calmness, expansion, peace. When we focus on our breath, we are reminded of our original voice, before the fleeting drama of the collective internal dialog began.
Our breath guides all of our bodily systems. The breath is the master regulator of these complex systems. The respiratory is an obvious one. However, the breath nourishes the cardiovascular, neurological, as well as the spiritual. Our bodies’ rhythm is set by this supreme conductor. As you read these words are you thinking about your breath? Probably not. And yet, there it is, undivided, life giving.
If we consider that our world has been described to us, you could say that description is a type of division, a way of sorting things out to make sense of our reality. The ancient practice of Yoga reminds us that we are actually undivided. In fact, for all the millions of words written about Yoga, it’s simple definition is a union, to bring together, to yoke together. Breath is the very thing that brings us together, binding us as sentient beings. The breath IS yoga. The breath is whole, complete. Can the mind grasp this wholeness? Careful, it’s a trick question! To answer yes or no is to come from that very place of division. The mind considers the question. The breath moves through the question, unconcerned with contrasts and comparisons.
So, we can see that the breath is ever present, and thoughts are ever fleeting. Meditating on this simple fact is enough to soothe and quiet the mind. Please consider, when we speak about meditation we are not speaking about something that is a chore. Indeed, meditation is your natural sanctuary.
As we conclude this article, try this:
Sitting right where you are. Take a deep breath through your nose. Fill up! Gently hold the breath at the top of the inhale, slowly exhale, completely, also through the nose. Resume your natural breath. After a few moments. Try it again. This time think of your exhale like a faucet. Increase, or decrease the volume of your exhale, like you would a water faucet.
Observe how you feel. No judgement, just observe.
Thoughts imagine the present moment. Breath experiences it directly.
Enjoy the simple power of your breath. It’s truly yours, unique to you. Your oldest, most faithful friend!
Peace, Matt Mullen
About the author
Matt Mullen is a massage therapist, yoga instructor, healthy living coach, father, friend, educator, and student of the universe. Along his journey he’s learned a little, but it was enough for him to realize that the questions are often much more important than the answers men conjure up to explain the unexplainable. Matt is available for consultations and individual appointments. Please contact him directly at email@example.com