"Breathing is Everything"
By Brian Germain
As we begin again in this New Year, I find myself contemplating my core
message the world. What is it that I am trying to say, in a concise package, that folks can take to the bank? What memorable secret will
actually help people in their daily lives? I have come to the same conclusion, over and over again: We must remember to breathe better.
No matter what the challenge is, life requires respiration. Depending on how well we breathe in the process of navigating any specific reality, we will either run out of energy and focus, or we will make it to the finish line in style. Breathing, it seems to me, is everything.
The only truly replenishable resource in the universe is hope. In my experience, hope is not something that holds the same level over time, but fluxuates depending on the worldview created by our emotional climate. Our internal experience is created by our object of our attention, and how it makes us feel. Therefore, if we are to have control over our emotional experience, we must have the conscious clarity to wake up from a focus of attention that is bringing us down, and find a way to allow a feeling of relief. Once the feeling of relief is upon us, we are able to conjure an alternate focus of attention that makes us feel better.
The breath is not just the means by which we allow air into our bodies; it is the way in which we allow the feeling of relief into our consciousness. A deep breath is a true turning point. It is a moment of pivoting in our direction of motion, from something that does not feel good to us, toward something that does feel good.
Hang on a second, am I suggesting that you turn away from everything that makes you feel bad? That sounds really Pollyanna, right? If I do not place my attention on things that feel bad, they will grow and turn into something worse, right? Wrong. We cannot approach any topic with a feeling of negativity, especially ones that are feeling bad because of the magnitude of importance of the issue. We first need to alter how we view this thing, and change how we feel when we look at it.
Proceeding with the feeling of negativity will always lead to a negative
result. It is the deep breath of relief that brings in a different perspective that allows us to negotiate any challenging circumstances. This is how hope gets replenished.
Breathing is a mostly unconscious process for most people, most of
the time. The times that we do realize how we are breathing are the moments that allow us to get our breath back under control, to fill our bodies with oxygen, and our minds with the perspective of wellbeing that always leads to solutions. If we are to become happier people, we must get better at noticing our respiration, and doing something about it.
When we realize that we are stressed, the message first comes from our Solar Plexus, at the middle of our abdomen. We do not feel good. We
do not feel happy. We are moving too fast for the joy level that we are carrying at the moment. Speed is fine if you are filled with love and joy and positive energy for what you are doing or thinking about. It is another matter when you are not feeling good, and pushing a bad position. If you do not feel good, you need to stop, now, and re-collect yourself. You need to get your vibe back under control because if you do not, you will not be able to fix anything, and anything you try to fix will just get worse. Cranky just creates more cranky. The only solution is to use the emotion as an indicator, and the breath as the throttle.
It has occurred to me, as I teach people how to jump out of airplanes, that most people do not have a clear game-plan when it
comes to getting their breath back under control. I even see instructors in the airplane talking to their students, telling them to breathe, while doing a great job of demonstrating how NOT to breathe. They don't have a game-plan either. I have realized that, due to my exposure to meditation and self-hypnosis from a very early age, I might have something to share that may help people in this regard. My "Relax, Focus and Flow" message seems to help, but it did not speak directly to the way in which we relax and focus. It did not remind folks how to breathe. So, here goes:
Breath of Relief
A Meditation by Brian Germain
I invite you to take a moment right now, and stop what you are doing. I invite you to take a long, slow, deep breath, all the way in, relaxing as you do. Expanding your chest, open your body, open your mind. Allow a feeling of deep relief in. Let go of all your resistance to the well-being that is who you really are. Let the feeling of relief in, all the way in. Let the top of the inhale be round and soft, drifting over the hill of complete expansion, falling gently into a slow exhale, like an autumn leaf floating downward. At the bottom of the release, allow a feeling of complete
surrender, and feel your life force ask for more. Feel how this drive within
you is eager and hopeful for the future, excited about what is to come. Allow this feeling of joy to bring more air into your body, and more life force from the world around you. Balance the childlike exuberance of the inhale with the patience of maturity, slowing the influx, but always allowing it to progress further toward life-affirming expansion, and then slowly drifting over the hill at the fullest extent of your capacity, gently surrendering again to gravity and the natural flow that takes back the breath that you have borrowed from the world. The soft sound of your slow, controlled exhale is the airy ohm of "Thank You", as you release your breath lovingly back into the wild.
(In case you haven't heard that one before, it is a salutation used by the People of the Himalayas, which means):
is one possible solution to the problem