When was the last time you consciously took a breath? I mean really stopped to breathe and acknowledge the nourishment found within that breath? We breathe on auto pilot and so rarely do we stop to take a moment to feel the nourishment of air filling our lungs, let alone appreciate the cleansing of each exhale. There is a difference between breathing to live and and feeling alive when you breathe. That difference can be found in so many things. Savoring the taste of food instead of just eating because you’re hungry. Or noticing the feeling of love instead of saying "I Love You" out of habit. It’s no wonder the breath is the first step on the path to transcendence. In one breath, you can find life, peace, and release.
But taking time to savor the breath is not something that comes naturally to us. It is so instinctual that we take it for granted. However, the breath is, In my opinion, the beginning of any true meditation practice. The breath is the beginning of finding presence in the present. It is the simplest form of meditation and requires very little effort.
To meditate is to find peace and stillness in the present moment. It's about consciously focusing on where you are and what you're doing NOW. It's a symbolic space where you can let go of the to-do lists and anxieties about the future as well as the memories of the past. It's a small vacation from your thoughts and the troubles that weigh you down on a day to day basis. But being still is hard when we live in a world that values action and movement. We're so busy trying to get to where we're going that we miss the view while looking at a map we don't even really understand. We fall into "autopilot" and charge ahead with a one track mind. That's way so many miss love when looking for love and miss opportunities when looking for opportunities. We spend so much time looking for things in the future when there are almost always perfectly acceptable ways to fulfill our desires right here in the NOW.
It can take a long time to learn how to meditate. Clearing your mind of thought can be challenging to say the least. That's why conscious breathing is so important. It's a repetitive practice that allows you to focus on something that naturally fuels the body. Breathing can be energizing and relaxing. It can cool you down or warm you up. The breath can wake up parts of the body you've long forgotten and bring your attention to places that need some gentle love and care.
Perhaps more than anything, the breath helps you to find space within your being. It can help you to feel your inner sanctum and connect with the infinite space of the universe. It helps you to hold sacred space then extend it. Each inhale brings your awareness to the space within your skin and each exhale expands that same space to the universe that lays beyond it. It's in that extended space that allows the universe to speak to you. That is where you'll find the answers we all seek through meditation. The universe isn't just found within books or crystals, tarot or astrology. Rather the universe can be found right where you are, within yourself and you can access that space at anytime simply by consciously breathing.