If you’re like me, you tend to like to make things complicated when you can, when in fact if you let them be simpler you’d gain faster results. The head gets busy thinking and the more it thinks, the more it thinks. Thinking is highly addictive and once it starts spiralling it’s tricky reversing the process.
There are many techniques I use myself for bringing an air of simplification to the head, one of the most powerful (and simple) of which is merely to use your mind to think about your breathing.
To wit, arrange yourself as comfortably as you can and notice what’s happening with the breath. It’s probably a bit all over the place, irregular, inhibited on the exhalation, uneven, rough and shallow.
Take a moment to rein it in, slow it down, even out the duration of inhalation and exhalation, soften it and deepen it, as in allow it to originate from down in your belly instead of your chest, as this works the diaphragm better.
Then focus on breathing in to the count of four, pause, holding it in lightly for the count of one, then breathing out to the count of four, pause, holding it out lightly for one, breathing in again and so on for three cycles or more if you have time and inclination.
You’ll notice your entire mental landscape has acquired a fresher, calmer, less cluttered hue and view as a result, one you’ll be able to maintain throughout the rest of the day’s activities with relative ease, provided you remember to keep breathing freely (don’t bother with the pauses unless actually doing it as an exercise, in fact make sure you keep breathing freely without pauses all the time otherwise).
Breathing is the most important thing in life – everything else can wait. I’ve just had a sound reminder of that myself in recent weeks and can’t stress enough how crucial it is to honour this basic mechanism of life with your attention as often and regularly as possible.
Moreover, according to Taoist wisdom you’re only allotted a prescribed number of breaths per lifetime, so the more slowly you use them up, the longer you live.
I wish you enough easy breath to last you a century or more and a clear, joyful mind to enjoy it with.