Wherever you are right now, stop everything (this is important).
Take just a moment and sit back in your seat.
Now, place your hands on your abdomen with your fingertips barely touching. On your next inhale separate your fingertips by breathing deeply and slowly into your belly, allowing your breath to push them apart.
Then exhale slowly so that your fingertips come back together.
When you have finished, try it again.
There. That’s it.
The key to unlocking the door to our own growth and evolvement, to managing and actually reducing the stress in our lives, and setting in motion a small but resounding ripple in the betterment of the world.
Sound ridiculous? Are you wondering how one deep breath can claim to accomplish so much?
The answer lies not in the biological functioning of the breath, but in its ability to focus attention, to bring mind and body into sync and release the present from concerns over the past or future. And when this happens, time and space is created for deepening self-knowledge and awareness, which in turn leads to more purposeful, engaged and inspired living.
Sitting quietly for five, ten, twenty minutes a day, following our breath, is a good way to begin creating a personal practice of what is called “mindfulness.”
In today’s speed-of-light world, it’s common to feel scattered—for the mind to be thinking about one thing, while the heart reaches toward another and the body hangs out in the space-time continuum.
Mindfulness is about bringing all these aspects of the self together. It’s about becoming fully and deeply present, aware of each passing moment. And the simplest, easiest and best place to begin is the breath.
Though it won’t stop there.
When we become intentional in the practice of being mindful a deeper process will be triggered. The ability to focus on our own inner experience and to become fully present will begin to flow into every aspect of our life—into our words, and thoughts and actions, into our relationships and work and personal endeavors.
We will wake and realize that we are, maybe for the first time, actually experiencing the moments of our existence.
But how does that transfer to saving the world?
Peace, and all roads that lead to it and from it, begin with the individual.
Peaceful individuals create peaceful homes, peaceful communities, peaceful nations and a peaceful world.
To truly make progress in our own growth and development—to make the deepest impact possible on the state of the planet—we must begin with ourselves.
Learn the art of mindfulness.
Devote two, five, twenty or thirty minutes a day to practicing presence. Take time each day to show up fully. Get to know ourselves. Create our own personal practice.
It can include anything that stills the mind, quiets the heart, calms the spirit, inspires the soul—breathing, meditation, walking, prayer, dance, art, journaling.
The purpose is to take time to be in this world of doing, to bring peace to oneself so that when we venture into the world, we carry it with ourselves like a lantern we pass on to others.
So take another moment, another breath. But this time, breathe like you mean it. It is the key to our growth, and just may be the key to healing the world.
The world is waiting for our unique gifts. Why keep it waiting any longer?
Emerge from your cocoon.
Revel in a new You.
Author: Karen Dickinson
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Renee Jahnke
Photo: Mae Chevrette-Flickr