Without breath, we are nothing. Breath is the gift of animus, bringing life to the body. It expresses how we are feeling - short and fast can reflect panic and upset, long and deep and slow can reflect calm. Regulating the breath, B.K.S Iyengar told us, is to regulate the mind. Try it now. Take a deep breath. Fill up your lungs - side, back, front ribs - the whole torso expanding with the breath. Hold for a moment, and then slowly exhale. Try this three times. Nine times. 108 times. Breathing in, you breath in vitality, life, energy. Breathing out, you begin to calm and let go - or let be, commenting into present moment awareness.
Desikachar, a well known father of modern yoga, said that the 'breath is a wonder drug', so powerful it's effect is on our entire beings. Focus on the breath is not only a benchmark of a yoga practice, but also is part of a practice of Buddhist meditators too, all across the world. I've been reading Pema Chodron of late, and she talks about the power of the breath to help us drop the narratives and stories of our lives - the things we get caught up and bound within. Take three conscious breaths, she says, and create a little distance from the storyline you're working to maintain. It's a practice of pausing, allowing our mind to drop in to a moment of blessed sacredness, into an immediate experience of nowness and the vast, beautiful magic of the place we are in.
This week my Mum rang to say her and my Dad were in Accident and Emergency because Dad had woken with a fever of 39.1 and had a thumping headache. I immediately went into story mode - the pain I imagined my father was in, the prospect of him dying, the drama of the situation. I sat outside on a log with the phone on my lap and took three long, slow conscious breaths. I heard the magpies chortle, the lorikeets fighting in the gum trees, and felt the icy air on my cheeks. Above, a pelican glided. Things were exactly as they should be - sacred, beautiful, magical life. I dropped the story and came into being. Today, I visited Dad - he's fine. Turns out it's quite normal for the body to react in this way to the particular drug he's been given for his cancer, and this might be par for the course until the body adjusts to the treatment. Three conscious breaths. Three conscious breaths. How awful the past twenty four hours would have been if I had have been caught up in a story that only really existed in my own head.
Speaking of being with the breath....
Our dear @bewithbreath is back from Nepal, hosting meditation sessions in our Discord server. Please come and join us. If you had trouble getting in last week, it might be due to the need to contact @riverflows about delegation. Those under 150SP are free, but if you are over that, a minimum fee of 20SP delegation is required. This helps keep the server running AND helps us upvote good content connected to natural healing on Steem - including meditation and spirituality.
Session times are Wednesdays 8:30pm for 8:40 start (30mins session) and Saturdays 5:30pm (1hr session) both London time. You are very welcome to join both session or either as you see fit. On Saturdays he runs a face to face group in Norwich, UK parallel to the online group. If you're after a conversion to your local time, try this time converter.
Which tag to use?
@naturalmedicine upvotes good content written under the #mindfulmonday, #mindfullife, #spirituality, #mindfulness and #meditation tags. Often we might check #yoga too. Feel free to post under any of these tags, but it will be #mindfullife checked first and most often.
What's been happening on Steem this week
We try to award people posting under the #mindfullife collection of tags where we can, supporting your journeys of reflection, awakening and consciousness. Each of the following posts will receive 2 SBI this week. Thank-you for sharing!
@julianhorack asks us to be mindfully attentive to the truth in this post, reflecting on AI and illusions. He reminds us of Krishna's words to Arjuna just before battle, explaining illustion and reality to him:
कच्चिदेतच्छ्रुतं पार्थ त्वयैकाग्रेण चेतसा ।
कच्चिदज्ञानसम्मोह: प्रणष्टस्ते धनञ्जय ॥ ७२ ॥
kaccid etac chrutaṁ pārtha
praṇaṣṭas te dhanañ-jaya
“O son of Pṛthā, O conqueror of wealth, have you heard this with an attentive mind? And are your ignorance and illusions now dispelled?”
@desertrat's #mindfullife post this week takes a very different tack. Her post is about 'growing up under the patriachy' and being mindful of how complicit she has been within this cultural narrative. I highly recommend you read this post - it's a wonderful awakening to truth and a dispelling of an illusion that had hitherto controlled her action in the world:
I never really looked too deeply at the systems I grew up within or that I thrived in professionally. I used my femininity to my advantage when I needed to. I’d flirt with my fellow bartenders because our work environment was beyond sexualized, I would sweet talk my way into access while photographing NASCAR or Dave Matthews concerts. If someone sexually harassed me— I threw it right back at them. No one fucked with me because I made it perfectly clear I could be as vicious as I could be sweet.
Sometimes a mindful life is just about attention to the narratives that dictate our lives, and the illusions that create our particular realities.
What story is guiding your life right now? Try taking three conscious breaths, and start again.
Mindful Life is a space within Natural Medicine whose aims are:
• To unite meditators across the Steem blockchain so that we can share and strengthen our own practices
• To provide a space to discuss the philosophy, science and practical application of such practices in our lives
• To inspire and motivate each other
• To provide support if we might be struggling, connecting with like minded people who might offer solutions
Entry is minimum 20 SP for those under 500SP, and 50SP + for those with a bit more. This makes you a full member of @naturalmedicine and all it's benefits. It's free for those under 100 SP.