By Deb Avery
Have you ever felt that a brief moment of time seem to last forever?
Maybe a moment that took your breath away with it’s beauty and grace? Or maybe it was the polar opposite and it was a moment that caused pain and sorrow and it seemed to go on forever.
These moments—these spaces of time that exist between our breaths—hold the power to change lives, both our own, and others. They hold the power to change the world we live in.
There is untold power in the seconds between the exhale and the inhale. For within that space of time we can lash out in anger, hold back in fear, reach out in compassion or simply let go to what is. And those four things; anger, fear, compassion and the ability to let go, will mold and shape our lives and the lives of all we come in contact with.
This is why the term being at one with the breath is so important. It’s all about not only being mindful while on a cushion or during a 30 minute or hour long meditation practice, but living and breathing mindfully in each second, each moment of our life.
When we bring the mindfulness of meditation off the mat or the cushion and into our everyday life, we bring the freedom and insights we receive during meditation with us into the real world. All the words in all the books on our shelves begin to make sense and we begin to understand on a deeper level just what it means to be mindful.
But how do we get there?
Do we just get up one day from our mat, cushion or chair and instant mindfulness is ours? I’m afraid not. Just as with karma, fulfillment and all things that truly matter in life, there is no instant mindfulness. Yet gradually, as we return again and again to our breath, as we quiet the noise in our minds on a daily basis, we begin to sense a shift in our way of thinking. With this shift in thinking also comes the ability to look at the world around us and everything in it as they truly are. The perceptions we’ve held onto for years because of life events, will slowly begin to fade and the picture we see of the world will be clearer and brighter than before.
This shift in the way we think about and see the world will require three things:
The first is time. It will take time to reprogram our minds from simply reacting to events and world around us to simply observing all that comes and goes.
The second is perseverance. It takes perseverance because there will days when it will be difficult to sit quietly when the world is raging around us and our minds are full of busyness, emotions, fear, anger or some other strong determent.
And the third requirement is courage. Courage is needed because there will be days when the illusions begin to drop away, that we will feel as though we have become unmoored, adrift in a vast ocean, and all alone. We may feel that we are drowning in thoughts and emotions that come over us in vast, unrelenting waves. Have courage, for land is soon within sight and you are never truly alone.
When these three things are present they will help us change our perceptions of ourselves and the world. And when our perceptions change, we will then be able to open to infinite possibilities. When we have learned to accept that these possibilities are real, it will then become easier to see that we are surrounded by them at all times, in all the moments of our life.
When we learn to allow that perception of infinite possibility in every moment into our daily lives, we will begin to see huge changes. We can view situations, conversations and people with more compassion, more understanding and be less apt to react in old harmful ways. We will find that instead of reacting to hurtful comments or events, we will take that moment in between our breaths, those precious infinite moments bursting with possibility, and not simply react but interact. To bring more love into the world and to make the world a better place for all.
This is one way to bring mindfulness into each moment, each breath, of our lives.
Editor: Dana Gornall