During these times, practicing mindfulness is key to remaining calm and focused for many of us.
But, sometimes, being mindful can be challenging.
How do we find the right tools to help us be present? How can we be in the “here and now” when so many thoughts are racing, our anxiety is amping up, and we do not have a set meditation practice?
We might not have access to our phone applications because the Wi-Fi signal is down, or the yoga studio is closed for live classes. How can we remember to use the skills we have learned from books or therapy, especially when we are in a stressful situation like our fourth zoom meeting of the day?
Do we have to run to the store at a crowded time? Do we have to manage online classes with the children?
These are all struggles we experience in one way or another, and we can feel lost, searching for a way to anchor ourselves.
Help is on the way. Think of it like this: if we need to fix our shaky table’s leg by tightening a screw, and we don’t have a screwdriver handy, we might scramble about, looking for something to use. We might try to screw it in with a knife, the flat handle end of a spoon, a barrette, or our fingers. It may not work so easily or smoothly.
However, if we are able to fish the Phillips head screwdriver out of the junk drawer, then ah, there it is. Just right. It fits beautifully, and the solution is smooth.
What if the same is true for finding that ease into presence, calm, connection, and stability? That same ease comes with this tool that we all have with us at all times. Every one of us has it, no matter what age we are, no matter our gender, socioeconomic status, or where we are in the world.
It is always with us, and we are able to use it at any time—day or night.
We don’t have to look for it. We don’t need to buy or borrow it.
We don’t need the internet, electricity, or any other source.
We don’t have to remember to bring it with us everywhere because it is always available, inside us—awake, asleep, eating, working, driving, or walking.
It is our precious breath—the breath is the gateway to the present moment.
“Our beautiful breath. At any given time, we may tap in to being here now, by shifting attention to our breath. Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
All we need to do is stop, pause, fill our lungs with air, and rest our attention in the flow of our breath. We release the air out, just as naturally as the sun sets in the pale pink sky. Inhale slow, exhale slower. Breathing in this way, we become one with the moment. There is no choice but to be present.
This is simple enough. If we want to go deeper, we can explore many different types of breath, through learning pranayama. There are different breaths for different situations: breaths to cool the body in the summer heat. Breaths to warm the body in winter months. Breaths that calm the central nervous system almost instantly. And breaths to help us fall asleep.
Do not fret.
We have what we need.
Let’s ride the wave of our breath and allow the calm waters of our inner peace to flow through.
The past is gone, and the future has not yet arrived. All we have is right here, right now.