The breath

After a wonderful workshop on disturbing emotions last night, we came home and enjoyed a little dinner.
After letting that settle, we sat down to do our nightly meditation.
The workshop had made me more aware of the idea of being present, and just seeing things arise and fall away.
I took this with me as I started my meditation.
As always, I started by focusing on my breath. I felt the coolness as it entered my body, then the warmth of my breath as it left me.
I started thinking how Buddhism always teaches it is all about the breath. Suddenly I could see how deep the meaning of this was.
When I inhale, I feel my body filling with energy and life. Yet I realize that as wonderful as this feels, I cannot hold on to it. Then as I exhale I feel the release of that life giving breath, and I have no choice but to let it go and accept the passing of this breath.
My life is filled with these rising and falling breaths, just as it is filled with rising and falling emotions. Trying to cling to either of of them is clearly suffering, and there is no escape from that reality.
So what if I just become more aware of each breath, without clinging to the exhilaration of the inhale or the peaceful release of the exhale? I know that my body relaxes, and enjoys both sides of this breath. I don’t struggle or grasp for either one, I simply observe them as they come and go.
This too applies to my thoughts and emotions. I will not stay angry forever, nor will I always be happy. These emotions will arise and fall just as my breath.
Without clinging, I can become an observer. A compassionate, loving and mindful observer. A “peaceful pal”, as we call our 11 year old Daughter!
As I meditated longer on this, it came to me that when we are born, our first breath is that life giving inhalation to fill our lungs. And when we die, our last physical action is to expel our final breath. Between that first inhale and that last exhale was everything. Our entire life was between one inhale and one exhale.
We came and we passed, our breath comes and it goes. Our emotions arise and fall the very same way.
We need to be very mindful of these truths, or we risk missing everything.
I pray that you be more present today, and to observe each breath with all of it’s value. Do not attach to it, or judge it, simply be more observant.
I believe when one can see these truths and live in the present with keen awareness, we have begun the cessation of suffering.
Ultimately we can see our death with the same value and joy as we see our birth. There is not one without the other, and one is neither bad nor good.
The way of all things is impermanence.

So I hope you examine for yourself what I am saying here. If these words ring true with your own logic and reason; then my hope is that you will find more peace and joy in every moment of every day.

May you all be well, happy and peaceful.