Friday, September 03, 2004

The Breath

When I practice meditation, I've always had some degree of difficulty with my breathing. It varies. Sometimes I find myself trying to change my breathing...make it fuller, shallower, whatever. Sometimes it's not such a concern.

However, recently I read something extraordinary that helped me free myself of the notion that I need to do something with my breathing.

In "Stillness Speaks," in a chapter on the power of nature to bring us beyond ourselves, Eckhart Tolle writes:

"The air that you breathe is nature, as is the breathing process itself.

"Bring your attention to your breathing and realize that you are not doing it. It is the breath of nature. If you had to remember to breathe, you would soon die, and if you tried to stop breathing, nature would prevail."

As a living, breathing human being, this is something that I knew physiologically. However, intellectually, it is a new concept to understand that I don't have to worry about controlling or modifying my breathing during meditation.

As long as I can know that it is something that my body will handle, I can be free to focus on what it feels like to breathe -- not the act of breathing. Wow!

With this in mind, I began meditating...and sure enough, I found it easier to focus on the feeling...the experience... of my body rises and my nose and lungs feel.

Almost immediately, I began to feel a much greater depth of spaciousness. Profound!

Alas, as if to underscore that I need to keep working on this, the spaciousness was almost too great. I became aware of my fear of that depth. And it was over.

I'll come back to it.

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