I've been asking myself this question lately. You see, it seems to me that if I don't have a relationship with my breath, I am like a boat in the water, without a rudder. I am at the mercy of the winds, buffeted by changing tides and currents, emotions and reactions. I am without the ability to direct my boat. Life feels like it is happening to me, instead of with me.
But if I put my rudder in the water, if I create a relationship with the animating life force, Breath, I can steer my boat. I can experience life versus reacting to it. I can make choices to head in one direction: towards harmony, integration, community, Self, rather than being dragged towards fear, worry, resentment, or self-doubt.
A relationship with my breath is a relationship with the Essence of Life. A relationship with my breath creates inner calm, connection, stability, and power. Its a relationship with the Self, the timeless aspect of my essential being beyond just the physicality of a body. As Deepak Chopra said: "When we find our core certainty within, then we no longer look for certainty outside. The outer world ceases to be a source of anxiety and instead is a source of joy and adventure."
I don't have to meditate for 1 hour every day to have a relationship with my breath. (And I dont'). I don't have to sit in deep stillness and solitude.
I only need curiosity and a willingness to explore my breath.
I notice an inhale.
I notice an exhale.
I am willing to pay attention.
I notice another inhale.
I notice another exhale...and again and again until I notice a wave of inhales and exhales.
If I will be curious and make the intention to notice my breath for even 30 seconds, I am in a relationship. (Yes, I timed it). And I have just sent the message to my parasympathetic nervous system to calm down. I feel a little more space, a little more distant from the chatter of my mind, and most importantly, closer to my core, the essential truth of who I am: Essence.
Next time you are surfing the web for distraction or just filling time, consider surfing to the wave of your breath instead. 30 seconds. So many opportunities. And there are many apps and videos out there to support you with a mantra, or guided imagery, or meditation bells.
There are gale force winds blowing out there these days, and we honestly don't know what the forecast will be. If I don't have a relationship with my breath, I don't have a relationship with my Self, and navigating these winds and these waters will be challenging to say the least.
So, who do you want to steer your boat? Now is the time to begin this relationship if you haven't already. And if you have, now is the time to deepen it.