Just wanted to pass along a quick thought this evening.
Earlier this week, I attended a Fall Equinox celebration here in LA (where else?) where a group of us gathered for an evening of contemplation, reflection and meditation as we entered into the final season of the year. The event was facilitated by a well-known spiritual advisor/singer named Mitra, and part of the process involved counting your blessings for the first nine months of the year.
Now I would imagine that most of us were thinking about those “big things” that we’re grateful for: good health, the key friends, family and animals in our life, having a place to live and clothing to wear, having food to eat everyday, being able to be of service when we can, acknowledging whatever creative gifts we may have, enjoying certain material possessions, etc.
But then Mitra had us call attention to our breathing…to our ability to take a breath in each moment, and how, on a most fundamental level, our breath IS the blessing. This was a compelling reminder for me.
Consider this notion: breathing is the one thing that you absolutely, positively have to keep doing in every moment that you’re here…even when you’re sleeping. And since it’s such an inherent part of our being on this planet, you will often find that the very act of breathing plays a central role in so many spiritual practices, like meditation, mindfulness, yoga and, of course, the Tantric sexual arts.
Mindful awareness of breath is something that I try to practice throughout the day, because it always pulls me back into the present moment. But, if we were to consciously integrate the tenet of gratitude into the practice of mindful breathing, then we could have occasion to strengthen our “gratitude muscle,” as well.
Think about it: so much of what we are routinely grateful for is, on some level, transient. Almost anything we have can potentially be taken from us. Material items can break or be stolen, money can disappear with an unfavorable turn of a market, loved ones can pass on, and even our physical health, mental faculties, and special skills can be jeopardized by the unforeseeable. But, as long as we are here, we will be breathing…even if it’s a bit labored, or granted to us courtesy of a respiratory machine. So if we can count the blessing of breath with any regularity, we can always experience the higher consciousness quality of gratitude.
I know all of this might sound like some crazy-ass, west coast, crystals-and-incense kind of stuff to some of you. But seriously, try it. Randomly throughout the day, as you think about it, take in a deep breath through the nose, then out through the mouth, and silently acknowledge: “Hell yes! I can breathe! And there is joy in this moment.”
In fact, do it NOW. It’s all about the practice, people…