The breath

In meditation, I always spend some time focusing on the instruction of Bhante Sujatha to breathe in lovingly and breathe out lovingly.
But today I found an additional great lesson in this practice.
One is not able to cling or have attachment to the inhale. I can enjoy the breath as my lungs take it in, I can love the self, but I must accept this as momentary. Then my exhale is not only a release of the breath, but a release of life. Sending loving kindness towards all beings.
I see clearly that this focus on the breath with loving intention applies to each one that I take. Whether on the cushion or not, each breath stands on its own. It’s only that in meditation, I am taking time and putting my focus on this reality. And this is really the training. To take this level of presence and mindfulness with us throughout the day, and not just to find it in meditation.

For many, I think that all this talk about the breath may seem silly or a lot-to-do about nothing. But what are we without the breath? Do we think we have an unlimited number of breaths that we are entitled to or guaranteed?
Isn’t it wisdom that would cause us to be fully aware of the precious gift that is offered within each individual breath? I think it is, it is a very precious gift. And one with an unknown, but certainly finite number.

My dear sweet Sister-in-law currently lies in a hospital bed on life support. An intubation machine is the force that currently allows her each and every breath that her body takes. She is a young, vibrant, active woman who has always taken care of herself. She has a kind and loving nature and has been the matriarch of her Family for most of her life. Selfless in so many ways, and an example to everyone she knows.
What does each breath mean to her right now? What does each breath mean to her Husband, Sister, friends and other Family members?
But another gift that my sweet Sister-in-law gives me, is the awakening that it is not these breaths that matter. It has been every breath she has breathed every day of her life. With each breath she has always been loving and selfless, supportive and understanding, compassionate and giving.
Breathing in lovingly and breathing out lovingly. This is how she has lived her life.
And may she now be the recipient of all the wonderful kamma she has generated her whole life.
May be she be free of suffering, may her body be at ease, may she feel the abundant love that so many have for her.

May we all be mindful of our bodies, and may our words, thoughts and actions be a blessing and benefit to others. Breathing in lovingly, breathing out lovingly.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.