Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Breath -- The Connection between Body and Mind

Thich Nhat Hanh’s lesson of this evening concerned conscious breathing. He suggests that we actually think to ourselves IN on the inhalation and OUT on the exhalation as a way of making us focus on the process of breathing. The objective is not deep belly breaths, but achieving breath that is peaceful and gentle, not in any way forced.

He depicts the breath as the bridge between body and mind. Sometimes they are going in different directions, and it is the breath that allows them to work as one. He reminds himself about the importance of breathing with a sign in his meditation room which reads: “Breathe. You are alive!” He admonishes us to breath and smile in order to enjoy life in the present moment.

Several of us noted how the process of conscious breathing can often mitigate stress or anger. Just a few deliberate breaths take the edge off a tense situation.

Breathing is something we all do. I wonder how many breaths I have taken unconsciously in my lifetime of 56 years?


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