Breathing and Meditation

Breathing is such a life essential action. Actually, it’s too basic that most people would not pay attention to it. But if you are having a minute to watch and feel your breaths, you might notice some difference happens to your entire being. Once your attention is focused on your breathing; listen to the rhythm, feel the cool air you breathe in and slightly warmer air travelling out through your nostrils when exhaling, you may automatically have deeper breaths and feel more oxygen in your lungs. Meanwhile, your busy mind is more likely to slow down as you have been mindful with your breaths, and your entire body will be relaxed a bit. In this short minute, you have done a wonderful breathing-meditation.


I know that the word of meditation “scares” off lots of people. It might be because the unknowing of the concept and practice, or simply because the mainstream culture has labelled it as “alternative”, “unreliable”, “un-provable”, even “weird”. To me, meditation is a basic innate ability of each of us, just like breathing. Meditation is the status that our body and mind are in peace and unity with our heart and spirit. In meditative state, our beings are not madly driven by our “monkey mind” that worries about tomorrow and future, depressed with what gone wrong yesterday and last year; we are then able to listen to our heart desires and let intuitions and true thoughts emerge. And this is when we can yield peace, calmness, confidence and so much more.  


It sounds funny but it is true that the majority of the population does not breathe properly. In a typical daily life shallow breathing mode, we only use 10% of the lung capacity. This means, we inhale much less fresh oxygen than what we are capable of, and produce excess carbon dioxide in lungs, both leading to low energy level and increased tension. It is not a surprise that stress and anxiety have been a major concern of the modern society. They are like un-shakeable shadow that follows us everywhere. An easy and cost free medicine is proper breathing. There are many ways to improve your breathing, swan breathing, still point breathing, body breathing, Hara (diaphragm) breathing, Zen breathing… It is fun to learn how to deepen and improve your breath, and eventually benefit your body-mind as a whole.   


Once you manage proper breathing, meditation would come along easily. Through meditation, we can encounter and work with your inner being, learn to let things go, to live in the present, and travel without limits of time and space.