I enjoy walking my dogs early in the morning before many people are up and about. We often share the sunrise together, though sometimes (as today) it is a little higher in the sky! The peace and stillness, birds just starting to sing, morning awakens. My favourite time of day as everything is fresh and new. Whatever stresses from yesterday are gone and the new day awaits. The world smells like hope.
I was thinking about life, death, beginnings, endings, and all the times in between. How do we cope? We approach with hope, perhaps a little fear of the unknown, the ball gets rolling, stresses may build up, fear creeps in that we won’t be able to accomplish our goal, or perhaps not in time… pressure increases, speed increases…
I was reminded of this while watching my young lab as we were walking. She starts off so excited because it is time for walkies!! Then sniffing everything…. end of the block calms down somewhat as she knows the routine, end of the next block she starts to get wound up because we are crossing the road and moving forward again…. I told her to STOP… SIT. She did, looking at me expectantly. I pet her head and talked to her calmly, telling her to slow down and breathe!!!! (Yes, I am certain she did understand me… for a moment…)
Conscious breathing is something we should all do more often. When pressures build, when we are feeling stress we need to remember to stop for a moment… and breathe. Be aware of taking a breath in…. and out. Inhale positive energy, love, light, calm thoughts, and exhale stress, dark thoughts, fears, worries. Do this consciously for a few minutes and you will be able to return to task much more assured and clear headed.
Sometimes what gives us feeling of stress is external to our being, perhaps it is global. Perhaps it is suffering experienced by others that has hit us with sadness. When we feel compassionate toward others we may again do the breathing exercise – only for them. In Buddhist culture this practice is called Tonglen… a form of meditation where we consciously focus on the breath – breathing in all the suffering and pain of others, and breathing out peace, love and compassionate healing energy. This can be done in any place at any time, provided you feel you are in an environment where it is safe to close your eyes for a few moments.
Perhaps today when you are feeling overwhelmed, or maybe when you are feeling very much at peace, you can stop and think of Tonglen and how it will positively affect you and others with whom we share the planet. An energy shift, no matter how small, can produce a very long-reaching effect. Think of how one person smiling at another can create a chain of positive energy as that smile continues throughout the day. Share your light, share your love, and if things seem to be getting too heavy… remember to breathe.
Blessed be your journey xo