Coming Back to the Present Moment
How Your Breath Can Help You Be More Present
Presence is the way that we touch life deeply. To be present is always to be present with something, and a way to begin our practice of presence in daily life is to bring awareness to our breath. It is very simple, but very deep and profound.
As you breathe in, simply become aware that you are breathing in, and as you breathe out, simply become aware that you are breathing out. There is no need to control or manipulate the breath. To be aware of it is enough. As you practice awareness of breath, you will find that it can be very refreshing, relaxing and pleasant. You can be happy and peaceful with something as simple as your own breathing. Keeping your awareness on your breath, you can also continue to perform other daily tasks, allowing your breath to be the anchor that helps you stay present and peaceful.
As you become more aware of your breath, you will notice that it is intimately connected to your state of mind. When you are stressful or anxious, check in with how you are breathing. You will likely find that you are breathing short and shallow breaths, and it is also likely that you will only be breathing into your chest.
When you are peaceful and relaxed, check in with how you are breathing. You will likely find that you are breathing long and deep breaths, and it is also likely that you will be breathing more fully into your belly or abdomen.
The state of our mind influences the way that we breathe. Conversely, the way that we breathe influences our state of mind. The next time you are stressed or anxious, intentionally alter your breath pattern to be slow, long, and deep. Breathe in full, complete and gentle breaths, and notice how after just a few breaths your mind will be more calm and relaxed.
The breath can be a great friend of ours as we grow in awareness. It is essential to understand how our breath and mind are connected, and how we can breathe in such a way that we create peace for ourselves. Why wait until you are stressed to breathe deeply? Take a few moments now to close your eyes, observe your breath, and to breathe in a deep and relaxed way. Give yourself permission to experience inner peace in this very moment.
The breath can help us be present in daily life. While intentionally breathing deep and relaxed breaths may calm us down and ease our stress, it is not necessary to always control your breath in such a way. Simply by bringing awareness to the natural process of breathing we can naturally be more at peace and more aware of the present moment. It is primarily the mind which disturbs our peace, and the thinking mind is much quieter when we are fully present with our immediate experience.
Simply following our in-breath and out-breath brings us back to the present moment. We depart from whatever plane of thought we were on, and we arrive in our body in the here and now. Our breathing is a stable solid ground that is always there for us to take refuge in. Whenever we are carried away by regret about something that has happened, or swept away in our fears or anxiety of the future, we can return to our breathing, and re-establish ourselves in the present moment.