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Breathe

Breathe

Breathing in I calm my body. Breathing out I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment.

Thich Nhat Hanh

“Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is a wonderful moment.”  – Thich Nhat Hahn

I return to Thich Nhat Hahn’s meditations over and over again and never more than now in this challenging time. When our minds worry about the future, a future we can hardly predict, we become tense, anxious and unhappy. When our minds as well as our bodies live fully in each moment, we become calm and happy.

One day last week, I was feeling particularly distracted and uncomfortable. My mind was busy thinking about politics, the pandemic, my family, black lives matter, finances, etc. I was painting a door in my house and I started saying to myself, “Breathing in, I am painting the door; breathing out I am painting the door.” I repeated this meditation in sync with my breath for 30 minutes or so. I grew calm, relaxed and peaceful. My thoughts dispersed and I became one with my breath.

”Breathing in, I know I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.” After saying these sentences, we can abbreviate them by saying “In” as we breathe in, and “Out” as we breathe out. We don’t try to control our breathing. Whether our in-breath is long or short, deep or shallow, we just breathe naturally and shine the light of mindfulness on it. When we do this, we notice that, in fact, our breathing does become slower and deeper naturally. “Breathing in, my in-breath has become deep. Breathing out, my out-breath has become slow.” Now we can practice, “Deep/slow.” We don’t have to make an effort. It just becomes deeper and slower by itself, and we recognize that.” – Thich Nhat Hahn

You can adapt this to whatever you are doing. For example: Breathing in, I am washing the dishes; breathing out I am washing the dishes. Breathing in I am walking in my garden; breathing out I am walking in my garden. Breathing in I am brushing my teeth; breathing out I am brushing my teeth. The more you practice this, the more present you become. Instead of living each moment to get to what is next, you live each moment in the moment.

Give it a try and notice how you feel. Observe your breath slow down, tensions melt away and peace and joy bubble up from within.

©Jo Kirsch, 2020

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