September 23, 2011

Learning to Breathe. ~ Robert Jackson

Photo: Nika

Just Two Minutes to Change Your Life.

Our breathing is automatic; in other words, we don’t think about it, it just happens.  As a matter of fact, you could say that we are being breathed.  Become aware of that simple-yet-profound thought: We are being breathed.

Just imagine how difficult it would be if we had to breathe consciously all day long, spending the entire day drawing breath in and breath out, aware of each one as it comes and goes — and if we forget too many breaths, wham! We’re a goner.  It sounds maddening, and just imagining it for a moment speeds up the heart and makes us dizzy.  So if it’s happening all by itself, and just thinking about it can cause anxiety, why do we have to learn to breathe?  What good could it possibly do?

These are good questions.  The type of breathing we need to learn is not often taught to us; it’s a conscious way of breathing without the need to control the breath. Put simply, it’s “breath observation” or “awareness of breath”.  Why would we need to become more aware of our breath?  Because breath is our anchor, our reminder and our teacher.  Think about it: no matter where we go or what we’re doing, the action of breathing is always happening.

Wherever we are in this world, the breath is with us and whatever it is we’re doing, the breath is with us, until it stops — and hopefully not anytime soon.  So to repeat, breath is our anchor, our grounding point, our teacher and an excellent guide back to the true self.

Take a moment to notice your breathing.  Do you have a shallow breathing style?  Tiny little breaths taken in rapid bursts,  as if you had the lungs of a mouse?  Check in with your breathing right now and just notice the rise and fall of your chest.  Feel the breath come in and out of your body.

Is your stomach soft and relaxed,  or is it tight, tense and being held in?  Let it relax.  Is your breathing shallow or deep?  Is your breath coming from your stomach or your throat?  Take a deep breath all the way down to your toes.  Don’t try to control your breathing, just notice the subtleties of its cycles and its depth, and try to breathe deep and slowly if possible.

Connect with your breath.  It takes just two minutes:

Sit still and quietly in your chair.

Get comfortable and relax.

Take a few deep breaths.

Focus your attention on the rise and fall of your chest.

Notice the long breaths and the short breaths.

Feel the natural rhythm of your breathing.

Close you eyes, if you wish, and repeat to yourself, “in” on the inhalation, and “out” on the exhalation.  Repeat three times.


Robert Jackson is a spiritual teacher who founded the podcast “A Quiet Mind” in 2005. Robert had a profound spiritual insight that lead him to investigate the truth or who we are, why we are here and what happens when we die. Robert is also an accomplished musician and artist. He loves animals, meditation and nature.  You can visit Robert’s blog, subscribe to his podcast, friend him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter

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