Last week, I talked about how the simple act of breathing can put the emotional brakes on our shenpa. Dr. Andrew Weil, a physician specializing in integrative medicine, said the “The single most effective relaxation technique I know is conscious regulation of breath.” Breathing is not just a sign that we are still alive and functioning. Breathing is a spiritual act, which bridges the mind and the body. If you pay close attention to your breathing, you will notice that there is this gap between your inhale and your exhale. This gap is said to be the movement of spirit within and through us. In many early languages, the words for spirit and breath are the same. Thus, breathing is not just necessary for our health and wellness, but it is the process through which we stay connected to the Creator.
Remembering to breathe allows us to relax, align our responses to anything out of love, and not fear. When we learn how to breathe, just breathe, we can begin to improve our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. When we work at being conscious of our breathing, we can begin to take advantage of the blessings and gifts that come with the simple act of breathing. Just breathe.
Think about this for a moment, what happens to your breathing when you are upset, angry, or frustrated. My guess is that your breathing changes. You probably find yourself breathing irregularly. When I am with someone who is upset or angry, his or her breathing tends to be short, quick, and shallow. When I am with them, I have to remind them to breathe. One of the things I have come to realize is that it is impossible to be upset when we are focused on slow, deep, quiet, and regular breathing. Sometimes we cannot convince ourselves to center ourselves emotionally. However, we can control our breathing. As we slow our breathing down. As we breathe deeper and deeper, we can feel a calming influence in the air. As our breathing becomes increasingly peaceful and regular, we can feel ourselves in this emotional place of balance and focus and able to respond to a situation out of love, not fear. As our breathing becomes centered and balanced, it brings us back into balance and communion with the Creator.
So the next time, you find yourself feeling angry, frustrated, or upset, remember to breathe before you do anything else, like speak. One of the agreements that don Miguel Ruiz writes about in his book The Four Agreements is to be impeccable with ones words. It is hard to speak out of love when we are not in control of our breathing. Once we have taken the time to breathe ourselves back into balance, then we can respond out of a place of love and compassion. Everything we say and do is a reflection of who we are. so I try to think about whether or not I want to see someone else doing what I am doing or hear them say what I am saying. Are they words and actions of love? I am the artist of my life; what others know of me is the picture I paint for them with my words and actions. Every stroke of my brush on the canvas of my life is essential. So before I speak, I take time to breathe.