What does taking a MIND BREATH mean? The way I define taking a mind breath is to bring yourself back to center. A mind breath allows us to calm, clear and release difficulties in the present moment. When we are following this practice we are able to surrender to joy, peace, contentment and courage. This is the miracle of equanimity, the balance that allows us to live and handle wisely all of life’s moments. It is impossible for our mind to hold pain, life difficulties and joy at the same time.
We can make things difficult for ourselves by being hesitant or uncertain. When we earnestly set our mind on getting in touch with our own breath and following it as far as it can take us, we will enter the stage of liberating insight, leading to the mind itself. Ultimately, pure knowing will stand out on its own. That’s when we reach an attainment trustworthy and sure. In other words, if we let the breath follow its own nature, and the mind its own nature, the results of taking a -mind breath- practice will without a doubt be all that we hope for.
When does one use MIND BREATH in life? This is a simple answer, everyday and through out the day. Before I even step one foot on the floor when I awaken in the morning, I inhale deeply and exhale slowly; I do this practice five times. This practice allows us to release all the toxins and mind chatter so we can create space for our mind to hold goodness as we start our day. I can feel your mind wheels turning. I know some are thinking, “my life is in crisis, I just lost my job, my boss doesn’t like me, the economy is not good, I have an illness and I am late with bills, my spouse just left me, I feel no one cares.” I can tell you your breath cares and so does your mind. Learning how to use your mind and breath together through difficulties has scientific proof that we can lower our cortisol levels (this is our flight/fight response) and raise our serotonin levels (this is our joy, contentment, feel good and wise response).
I could list pages of life difficulties. I know I have my share too. These are real life problems and most of the time they can be ego based. Last week as I was going through old boxes and junk in the attic, I became extremely overwhelmed. Do you know the emotion I am talking about? Thinking something should be easier and then realizing it is just one huge mess. We all have these experiences from day to day. Life is difficult but learning how to use MIND BREATH brings insight that comes solely through daily faithful practice.
How do you take a MIND BREATH in daily life? Most of us, by and large, like getting results but don’t like laying the groundwork to learn a new skill. We are creatures of habit, aren’t we? We may want nothing but goodness and ease (who doesn’t) but if we haven’t prepared the groundwork, we will not have change. When we feel stressors or difficulties in our day, we need to stop, pay attention and begin with cleansing breaths by engaging our mind.
As you practice you will make adjustments that will serve you well. Knowing how to adjust the breath so that it eases the mind and soothes the body does require practice. Learning how to breathe so that you feel free and refreshed in breath and mind is the hope of your personal exploration into this practice. The truth with this practice is that it can be practiced anywhere, at anytime and anyplace. There is no right or wrong. We naturally settle into what benefits us. We just have to start somewhere and begin without judgment..
My hope is that this practice of MIND BREATH will be helpful in your day to day experiences and you will come to see the great benefits that come from keeping the breath in mind. Always remember practice makes progress not perfection.
AN EXERCISE IN MIND BREATH PRACTICE
- Lie flat on your back and close your eyes. You may also do this practice sitting or standing. I do this practice before getting out of bed each morning. Ahhhh!
- Place your right hand on your abdomen and keep your left hand resting at your side.
- Relax your whole body, your face, neck, shoulders, back, arms and legs.
- Inhale deeply through the nose and feel your abdomen rise and expand.
- When you’ve inhaled fully, pause for a moment and then exhale fully through your nose.
- As you exhale, feel your abdomen contract. Let yourself go, imagine your whole body going limp.
- Repeat the breath; take 10-20 deep breaths in total.
- When you are finished, roll on your right side and rest for a few moments before pushing up to a seated position.
What to Consider:
- Pause during inhalation and exhalations keeping the throat soft and relaxing the entire body
- Keep your breath smooth and regular throughout the exercise
- The exhalation should take twice as long as the inhalation
- If you become distracted and your mind starts to wander away from your breath (and it will) notice this and let it go. You will now start focusing on your breath and belly again.