Joy Held's Writer Wellness

"Be well, write well."

Monday Meditation: Breath in. Breath out.

on January 24, 2011

There are five primary areas of practice to the Writer Wellness plan. Every other week I will post an idea for relaxation (Monday Meditation,) creative play (Tuesday Tickle,) fitness and exercise (Wednesday Workout,) journaling and misc. (Thursday Thought,) and nutrition (Friday Feast.)

“When I stop, I pass out,” said one of my college hatha yoga students. That means you are out of balance. It means you have neglected the quiet, still moments in life and your energy levels are at an all time low, so your body seizes the moment (when you stop) to knock you out cold so it can recharge. I call this backwards living because when we are going and doing constantly, it takes a punch in the belly to dump us a$$-over-tea-kettle so the body, mind, and spirit can get some rest. This is the hard way to achieve balance. In this zippy age of “just DO it,” 99% of the students I meet in yoga are looking for something to slow them down, but when they meet it head-on they resist. What we resist is what we need the most.

To look up the definition of “balance” in the dictionary would cause most people to slam the book shut and think, “How can one word have 27 different meanings? Forget it.” If you’ll spend a breath on the Latin (don’t freak) derivation, you’ll see that “balance” is Latin for “two scales”. Take your thoughts a bit farther and the image of the scales of justice should roll across your mind’s eye and you might take the leap to understand that “balance” is another word for “equality.” Hopefully, you think equality means giving both sides the same amount of time. It means striving to equalize your “doing” with your “being.”

We call ourselves human beings, but we are so much more human doings. Aren’t you always doing, going, getting, asking, etc. almost all the time? “Doing” is everything you’re responsible for and everyone you answer to. “Being” is much simpler. It is calming your mind until the only “doing” is breathing. Strangely, the human body, mind, and spirit react positively to an inequality of “doing” versus “being.” We can be much more active than inactive and our human carriages will show positive signs of health, but we must offer our bodies organized sessions of peace and quiet at regular intervals. In other words, it takes only a few minutes of “being” per day to balance many minutes of “doing” and we can achieve equilibrium.

The “being” is simply sitting or lying in a quiet, meditative state that is conscious relaxation when we are not talking, moving, thinking without obsessing (more on that later,) and simply appreciating the moment in which the only requirement of us is to breathe. It is not sleeping. It is conscious relaxation when our minds are focused on the breath and only the breath.

“Breath in, breath out,” is all we need to think and when something interrupts or tries to supersede that simple mantra, we do not follow its lead but continue the easy words in harmony with our natural breathing. As you breathe in, repeat to yourself, “Breath in.” As you breathe out, repeat to yourself, “Breath out.” Try it for five minutes, then ten minutes, then fifteen, and twenty minutes gradually increasing the time as you feel ready. It sounds easy, but let me know how easy it is or isn’t for you. If you’re human like the rest of us, it will present a lifelong challenge that will change your life forever and for the good.

Be well, write well.

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One response to “Monday Meditation: Breath in. Breath out.

  1. […] a simple set of words repeated over and over in your mind will calm your brain, breath, and body. https://writerwellness.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/monday-meditation-breath-in-breath-out/ It’s called a mantra, which literally means “mind tool” in the ancient Sanskrit language […]

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