Breathing – one of the activities in life which we don’t think about much (mostly). Breath is unique in many ways and is actually the life force that drives us. The day you stop breathing is when you die and the day you started breathing is when you started living.
First thing about breath is that it is both voluntary and involuntary. What do I mean by that? Let’s say I ask you to move your arm up and down – you can do it easily right. The arm does what you want it to do. Now, if I ask you to make your heart beat twice as fast – can you do it? No, you have no control over the heart. Breathing is unique because you can control it if you want like your arm or it can go on by itself like your heart. Can you imagine how your life would have been if you had do the breathing voluntarily – you won’t be doing much else in our lives except breathing.
This leads us into the second thing which is that “Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.”
Watching the breath can be fascinating if you can get your mind to focus on breathing first. Have you ever noticed that when you get angry then your breath becomes labored or faster than usual. Not only anger – any negative feeling like Hate,Jealousy and your natural rhythm of breathing is disturbed. Why is that?
At a chemical level your body produces hormones that induce the fight or flight reaction but the basic reason is that your mind and body are connected. Or unconscious and conscious are connected via breath. When you get angry your thoughts are predominately negative and your breathing becomes faster. Now, let’s say you are berating the child with love – your thoughts are predominantly positive and your breathing remains normal. Thus, breathing rhythm is the litmus test to validate what state of mind are you in currently.This explains how the breath connects the mind to the body or as we said before our unconscious and conscious.
Ok, so now we know that breath is the bridge – so how does this help us? Let’s say you are having a conversation with a friend which is taking a turn for the worse – now, if you are aware of breath then you can proactively lead the conversation away from conflict or at the very least make sure that you don’t lose your mental balance. This ensures that you do not generate any negativity. And if you notice most of the fights happen before they even begin – they start in your mind. If you are going to speak to somebody who is annoying you then chances are you are not approaching them with loving kindness thoughts. Now at that time if you became aware of your breath will it still result in the same outcome? Probably not. So Breath is a tool for us to be aware of our state of mind, prevent negative thoughts from arising or if they arise then helps them keep them in check.
Awareness of breathing is not as easy as it sounds but all great journeys begin with one step. If you are aware of your breath at least once a day – you are on your way to reach the ultimate goal.