There is a beautiful Sufi philosophy that says God has granted us so many breaths over our lifetime. If we use them up too quickly there are no more, and we perish. But if we can slow down, and use them very consciously and deliberately, we will enjoy a long, healthy life.
This wisdom is something that I live by, and practice every day. Most people breathe about sixteen breaths per minute. Meditators breathe about four every minute. This is why people who meditate tend to be healthier, live longer, and experience less stress than the average person.
When we take moments every day to just focus on our breathing, we learn to slow it down, and to take pauses in between each inhale and exhale. Consciousness and energy expansion are cultivated in the space between our breaths. This is where our intuition heightens, we receive messages, and find contentment and peace in all things.
Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, a leader in Integrative Medicine, has said that when patients come to visit him he writes on the prescription pad, “Breathe.” He says that just by his patients consciously breathing, he would see their health dramatically improve without ingesting one single pill.
Imagine if our health system across the board was designed this way what a difference we would see in the overall health of our country?
When we breathe, not only do we connect more deeply to ourselves, but it allows us to connect more deeply to other people. We begin to cultivate compassion and empathy for ourselves and everyone around us. Through the breath we have the power to release stress and repetitive thoughts that make us sick, and replace them with different ones that make us feel happier and more optimistic.
One of my favorite nuggets of wisdom is the notion that if we cannot sit with ourselves, then how do we expect others to be with us? If we don’t make time to know and love ourselves at a soul level, then how can others love us? It all begins within, and we must stop seeking it externally. When we look anywhere other than right inside of ourselves, we will be like a dog chasing its tail. Going round and round in circles, eventually driving us to depression, anxiety, insanity or worse.
This is a profound piece of knowledge to carry with you the rest of your life. If you feel your life or your relationships are not healthy or are not fulfilling you, the first place to start is with compassionately sitting with yourself in a quiet space, and intentionally following your breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Feel the sensation of being filled, up and then feeling empty, becoming comfortable with both.
This is a metaphor for life and represents the duality we all face. We have moments when we are full and content, and moments when we are empty and in despair. And the lesson is to not run away from either one, but to learn to just have an awareness in our lives of what we are experiencing.
Make a commitment from this day on to carve out time each day to connect with your energy. To cultivate awareness. To shift your consciousness, and unleash your potential. It will change every aspect of your life, I guarantee it.