Roger Harty: Breath Meditation

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IT is often said “you don’t know what’s around the corner” and that is true for most things…most things with the exception of the breath.

You see the breath is always available, as long as we are alive it is constantly at hand. In fact the first thing that a doctor looks for when checking if someone is alive is a pulse, and if there is a pulse there is breath.

So the first main advantage is that it is constantly available. This, by its very nature, breathes confidence (pardon the pun) as we can always depend on it.

Secondly the breath is easily accessible. Wherever or whenever we go, somewhere we always have access to it. If we are walking the hillsides, ill, in hospital or even in prison, our breath is always accessible.

If used properly, our breath becomes a very powerful tool. We simply have to become aware of it to appreciate its power.

When we are afraid, we automatically breathe fast. When we are calm and safe, we breathe slowly.

This can be used very cleverly to our advantage if we first become aware of these facts.

For instance, in times of stress, we instinctively tend to breath fast. This in turn sends a message of fear to the body ( remember above, fast breathing = fear).

If we are aware of this and have practiced breathing techniques, we can slow down out breath which in turn sends calm to the body. Now how useful is that.

This is very important information, especially if someone experiences panic attacks on a regular basis.

Our breath is a very reliable and readily available anchor. This anchor is a very useful metaphor.

If a ship is in stormy waters and having difficulties, then a serious captain would order the crew to ‘drop anchor’ and steady the situation.

A similar situation arises with the breath. As I have said before – you cannot be in Tralee and Dingle at the same time.

Similarly we cannot be with our thoughts and focused on our breath at the same time.

To really appreciate this you have to experience this. Take time out for a few minutes and focus your mind on your breath (breathe nice and slowly).

After a while I now ask a simple question; What thoughts are going through your mind right now while you are focused on your breath?

If  done properly, the answer should be…none.

The reason being is that you cannot be focused on your breath and your thoughts at the same time.

Now our thoughts are the main link between all sorts of judgments, worry and anxiety and if used effectively our breath can give us freedom form these.

We can develop this technique to a much higher level when we practice breath meditation.

• Next week I am going to write about — The Power of Fasting.

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