Breathing Meditation – creating joy anywhere

My mind kept looping on imaginary worries.

Worrying Mind: “What if something doesn’t work? What if I can’t handle it?”

Wise Me: “BE QUIET MIND! SHHH! STOP!”

Worrying Mind: “I have to keep worrying. There are so many things to worry about.”

That was me a few days ago. I was looping in the muck of past and future negativity. It was not fun. It definitely was not life enhancing.

The fires in California and Oregon hissed smoke into our valleys.

It had been the fifth week of smoky skies in Southern Oregon. Political news on TV was endlessly jarring. I was missing my children spread across the world.

The water lines on my farm were sucking air.

I was grumpy.

Then I remembered my old fall-back . . . the breathing meditation.

The breathing meditation had worked well many times before.

The Breathing Meditation goes like this:

As you breathe in you say in your mind “I am breathing in.”
As you breathe out you say in your mind “I am breathing out”

Simple.

You repeat the pattern, breathing slowly and deeply. You are appreciating and thinking only about the action of your breathing.

The breathing meditation can be varied like “I breathe in Joy. I breathe out Peace.”

There are many variations I have used with the breathing meditation but the simplest one would do that day, I decided.

EXCEPT it was smoky.

My mind wanted to worry about not being able to stop worrying.

Worrying Mind: “Could I really find calmness and renewed peace in the midst of the west coast fire season? Could I still my mind and refocus?”

Even now we are both breathing the air, said the flower.

Fortunately Wise Me laughed at Worrying Mind and said “We are breathing already, aren’t we?”

My breathing and my mind began to slow and flow with each breath in and each breath out.
I began to focus on each breath.

“I am breathing in. I am breathing out.”

Over and over I said the words in my mind with each breath in and each breath out.

Worry or thinking about my breathing? I knew I could not think two thoughts at once.

I knew I could not think worrying thoughts when my mind was saying “I am breathing in… breathing out”

After all, the mind can only think one thought at a time.

Does that surprise you? Try it. Can you think two thoughts at once? Nope.

One thought at a time is all we can do. We can think about a worry or think “I am breathing in. I am breathing out.”

Truly simple, yes?

No yoga mat or Guru and fancy oils and bells. Just ourselves, our breathing and a few easy to remember words

As you breathe in: “I am breathing in.”
As you breathing out: “I am breathing out”

I felt balanced and centered again. It reminded me of the hippy days when everything was groovy.

Several times that day I did the breathing exercise when worry tried to grip my mind again. Each time I quieted my Worrying Mind.

A still lake reflects the beauty of the world.

That evening as I went to bed I did one of the variations that I had adapted from a Thich Nhat Hanh audiobook.

Breathing in: “I am like a mountain lake.”
Breathing out: My stillness creates shimmering beauty.”

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