The science of the breath

“Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out”
These are words that are often used by Bhante Samita when he guides a meditation group. Simple words for what seems to be a very natural and involuntary process of our bodies.
But his words are actually meant for us to deeply observe the process of our breath. To bring awareness of what we are doing and what is actually happening.

Try a simple experiment for yourself right now. Take a deep long inhale of breath, and then hold it. Do you feel how wonderful it is to fill your lungs with fresh oxygen? But after a few moments, do you notice the discomfort of holding this breath? You cannot hold this breath forever, and you can hold this moment forever. Now release the breath, and feel how wonderful it is to let go. The pressure, the pain, the tension, all fall away as you release your breath. And while this too feels wonderful, you will quickly find that you need another inhale of breath. You cannot hang on to the wonderful feeling of inhale or the joy and release of the exhale. Those moments and feelings are gone. You cannot go back to them and cling to those feelings, nor can you experience or enjoy the next breath.
Truly we come to see that this inhale and this exhale are the only reality, and each is the present moment to enjoy without attachment.

When we examine this process, we see that there is no way to hold onto a pleasant or unpleasant experience. But our mind can create stories and delusions that cause us to think otherwise. Clinging or grasping for anything in this life is no different from what you have observed in your breath. And this is the benefit, or training, that we gain as we practice meditation. Observing the reality of this life, its impermanence, and the reality of coming on going.
And what gratitude we can have for this moment, once we fully understand this simple truth.

With all this in mind, I suggest we all be more mindful and grateful. Aware of this moment, with no attachment or desire. Holding the past is like holding your breath. The longer you hold it, the more painful it becomes. And as you let go of the past, and feel the joy of that freedom, have no desire for the next moment. Accept the nature of this breath and be open to accept whatever it may be. Lovingly, compassionately, and mindfully.
Make the determination to meditate daily, and observe your breath. Experience this life one moment at a time.
And may you be well, happy and peaceful.