One conscious breath in and one conscious breath out is a meditation.
~ E. Tolle
Imagine, only one conscious breath. Now, I can hardly say I don't have time to meditate, or "I can't fit it in, I am booked." For years I have tried to be aware of my breathing as I often mentioned in my writings. Initially, the challenge was even to remember to notice I was breathing. And my first observation of air lifting my chest was merely a physical sensation -- cooler air coming in, warmer air leaving.
It stayed merely physical for a surprisingly long time. Yet, practice and persistence works. If love crossed my path in a particularly conscious way I would take a deep, slow breath and associate it with its feeling. It seemed to be more fun to play with my breath, a bit of felt joy got breathed in, as did any feeling of gratitude I had at the end of the day. Sadness got breath in without judging it as bad until it penetrated its own velvet depth.
The mystic Simone Weil wrote in her classic, Waiting on God, that if we want to come alive, to become conscious of the beauty and truth that saturates our moments and discover one's presence as love and lover she states, it will all happen "According to the attention."
Like a bird sitting on her egg, my breath needed consistent attending. Then at some point, its life hatched on its own. This breath, I discover, is alive, has a resounding stillness, a resonance that renders me present to lovely Presence. Two little girls have just come in to Starbucks, I would guess maybe four or five-years-old. I over hear their mother is taking a holiday and is dropping them off with their grand parents for the day. They are excited. Watching the exchange, without 'manually' becoming aware of my breath, there it is, a warm faceless essence, a gentle expansive caring seems to be its substance.
The great Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has written numerous book, given countless presentations world-wide about conscious breathing. Like Einstein, who changed how we look at the Universe, with his Theory of Relativity which he summed up in three letters, E=MC (square), Hanh distills several thousand year of practicing the art and science of meditation and encourages, "One conscious breath...Be with your breath."
Surely I can take one breath of awareness, then hopefully it will lead to two. And, after many suns, I do feel its aliveness, its deep stillness, its resonance; then, breath (dare I say) begins to feel like a lover, loving me back. Visiting the shore this afternoon, I breathed in the salty tang of the waves splashing against the wharf. Looking up, the sea gulls, without a movement of wing, are on their own invisible highways in the sky. I draw the feeling in slow and deep.
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