I’ve been fascinated by the breath’s ability to heal. Daily Om this week reminded us, “Human beings carry within themselves the seed of healing. Our choices affect us more than we realize.” Each minute we are given anywhere between 12-20 breaths to “begin again” to connect with our ability to heal.
This weekend, my family and I braved the high energy of a play cafe on Saturday morning. I really embrace the reality that life unfolds before our very eyes when we give it the space and set a clear intention. I assumed a corner in the playcafe and found my meditation posture. I awoke to my breath that had obviously been there all morning, but sometimes falls into the background as the breath can really breathe itself (and somehow seems to get even further buried during times of stress or anxiety). As part of my mindful parenting training, one of the first things I learned this month is that of being an active observer as a parent – how perfectly fitting for my practice of mindfulness!
For a moment, I thought back to the first day of parenting class. I heard myself share the reality that part of why I found my path was through my desire to thoroughly enjoy my child. I sought to find a way to appreciate all the wonder she saw in her new world that I myself as an adult seemed to have lost. Which brings me back to my meditative space as the active observer at the playcafe this weekend. For my 3 year old, you could sense her excitement and elevated energy as her imagination explored this paradise she was savoring, for it seemed like the first time. What I saw on the outside was an eager child adorned in her leotard tutu, her pigtails bouncing up and down, wearing the largest smile – with dimples aglow. A me, many years back, might have been caught up in the thoughts rather than savoring the moment of exploration for my child and for me. I could see the mind’s desire to reside in the thoughts, anticipating the future, being caught up in the past, drafting my mental to-do list, being distracted by the TV, checking my iPhone, tweeting or being stuck in virtual world. Yet as I just sat, being the observer, I watched as many curious kids waved a cheery hello or smiled as they proudly displayed their new learnings. For a child, life unfolds in the here and the now. They don’t seem caught up in what is coming, or what bothered them from this morning (or who cut them off on their drive). Why do those things seem to get me stuck? There is something unspoken and peaceful about the practice of presence that is the place where kids and adults can connect upon where together, where you experience nothing but the moment, as it is NOW. The more the practice of presence becomes integrated into one’s life, the more this peaceful practice of presence begins to permeate your entire being – your thoughts, words, and actions, and who you are, and you don’t rely on those old unsuccessful tactics of leaving that create so much dissatisfaction and unhappiness with the moment of non-striving.
As an observer, I do just that. I sit and I watch the consciousness of breath (while the thoughts drift in and out). I laugh when I recognize that I’m given about 15 fresh attempts each minute to stay present with each inhale. I don’t need to be anywhere or do anything except re-train the mind’s tendency of leaving and vacating the body, to feel the precision of the breath as it is now.
My perceived quality of life has enhanced immeasurably, and not much has changed exteriorly, but my internal practice of staying has shifted. Due to an increased sense of self awareness and through my dedicated practice of meditation, I am able to really stay with and be in the moment, thriving in my body, rather than following the inevitable wanderings of the mind (that can be “oh so active!”) Despite chronic health conditions and ailments that had me desperately seeking the practice in the beginning, I am now to a place where I can more efficiently mine my energy, and suffer less physical ailments, and mental and emotional duress. I feel as though I’m living life through a less clouded lens, and significantly more enjoyment.
Through my practice of presence, I have come to appreciate each bounce on the air log just like each breath is new, fresh and alive, seeking to be uncovered with a new vibrant and clear state of mind.
So maybe this serves as your invitation to join us next month for some mindful inspirational filling and fueling inhales and with each exhale releasing any thing that might be holding you back in your practice of presence in our 21 Minutes for 21 Days Meditation Program. And if you already have a practice, maybe this will encourage you to set an intention to sit with your self and be with your beautiful self sometime in the next minute or so. You too can savor the practice of thoroughly enjoying and being satisfied with where you are, rather than always seeking more, bigger, better – just like our chronically overactive minds.
Peace to you, and all those amazing thoughts!