Breathing and Not Breathing

I like living, breathing better than working... Each second, each breath is a work which is inscribed nowhere, which is neither visual nor cerebral. It's a kind of constant euphoria. —Marcel Duchamp

When we sit down and place our bare attention on what it feels like just to breathe, the first few breaths can be magic.  There is a sense of coming home, of remembered wellness, maybe it’s like we’re back in the womb before we have any idea that there is anything other than just being in this moment, exactly as we are. Ahhhhhhhh.  

And then….. and then the trickster mind begins to poke at us.  We’re like Dory in Finding Nemo, suddenly darting off after a shiny object.  They say the untrained mind can hold its attention on an object for just 5 seconds before it wanders off elsewhere.  That’s about 3 breaths.  Sometimes, when we become aware that we’ve left the breath behind in the present moment and gone dancing off into the future or the past, untangling ourselves from whatever has pulled us away can be tough.  The thought might be interesting, seem important, or maybe we’re proud of having thought it.  It’s sticky and we have a hard time setting it down.  

One really effective tool for cutting through the attachment to a thought is just to label our activity as “Breathing” (when we’re aware that we’re breathing) and “Not breathing” (when we’re aware that our attention has strayed).  I’m pretty sure I learned that one from Sharon Salzberg on retreat and since taking it for many test drives I can say it works.  Meditations now go something like this, “Breathing … Breathing … Breathing … Not Breathing … Smile … Breathing … Breathing …”  You get the picture.  

We invite you to join us this week to come home to your breath.

May all beings everywhere without exception know the peace of being in this moment exactly as we are,

Your friends at CMP

Community Sessions this Week
Monday 12 PM and 1 PM Trumbull Library, Trumbull
Monday 7:30 PM Sama Yoga, 45 Grove Street, New Canaan
Tuesday 1PM Ferguson Library, Stamford
Wednesday 12PM New Canaan Library, New Canaan