Anyone who has ever achieved anything has focused and taken away their reluctance and what they achieved in is what they considered important. Priority is the breath: the priority is understanding that today you are alive no matter what is happening in the world around you or in your own mind: here you are.
Breath: know that there is nothing to fear in the breathe and very rarely is there anything to fear in the present moment.
Conversation with Buddha and Zoe: Teaching the World to Breathe
Buddha: Zoë, let’s teach the world to breathe.
Readers, close your eyes and take a deep breathe and another and another. Now, opening your eyes, what were you aware of when you breathed? One nostril is always more dominant at any one time than another. Which nostril of yours had the best free flow of air in and out of the body? If you cannot answer this question, shut your eyes once more and take a couple of deep breathes again and see if you can feel which one is which.
If you haven’t been able to sense this may I ask you to close off one nostril and breathe in and breathe out, then close off the other nostril and breathe in and breathe out and your answer will be apparent.
Now I wish you to focus on the breath, taking a strong breath and with this strong breath we wish you to focus on strengthening the body: breathing in and out. Now picture me in your minds eye in front of you and breathe strengthening, breathe and focus on me. If your mind wanders, which I expect it will, bring it back to me and the strengthening breath and focus on this. Focus on this for a long as it takes until your mind wanders, then focus on it once more, do this three or four times. For some of you this may be a second for some of you this may be a minute. Regardless repeat this process three times and lets get you breathing strength and vitality into your bodies. Enjoy this process and know that I will be with you.
Buddha: We wish to speak to you today about extremes. Because extremes move in different ways from a perceived central point, are they any different? No. To clarify, if one is looking to get fit, becoming a couch potato could be extreme, exercising for five hours a day could be perceived as extreme. Are they any different? While the behaviors of a couch potato person and someone who is exercising five hours a day may seem radically different, extremes are extremes.
People who move into extreme behaviors are cut off from their center, so, although we are speaking about extremes, we are actually speaking about those who are devoid of center.
At Wimbledon, the most prestigious court is center court. I like this! One of the best thing or compliments that can be given to a person is that they are centered. Would you trust someone more or less if you described them as centered? Would it be easier to love someone more or less if they were centered?
Humans were designed to be centered yet many spend their lives rushing around in extremes. What do I mean? I mean that ‘centered’ means feeling strong, feeling safe and sound within your own being. How many people actually spend time practicing this within their day-to-day activities? Equally, as there are so few people who practice feeling centered, there are also fewer people who exist in their center; center is all there is.
I ask that all readers find their center. How do you know where your center is? It’s the mind state that makes you feel ‘centered’. I try not to play with words. Sometimes I resist the opportunities to play with minds other times I don’t. The irony is that it is the mind that takes one out of ones center! But let’s not toy here.
To get into your center stop, breathe. You can still do all that you need to do in your day-to-day activities. You can go to work, be at work, come home from work, cook, sleep: centered. You can wake up the children, feed the children, take the children to school, get on with your daily chores, collect the children, feed the children, feed yourself: being centered. Or you can become un-centered and end up in extremes whereby you are in a rush to get to work, rush to complete your work, rush to get home, rush to cook, rush to get to bed. Similarly you can become lost in the chores or lose you own center by focusing on the children’s centers. Are the children fine, are the children fed, are the children ready are the children this, are the children that? These are extremes. I will speak about child rearing at a different time for now it is suffice to say if you are lucky enough to be raising children physically, then be aware- as they say on the airlines, fit your own oxygen mask before you fit that of the child’s. In this case center yourself. A centered parent will raise centered children: simple as that.
So this is your message today from the center to the center, saying find your center. How do you do that? Stop, breathe, be present. Once you have this go about your day to day activities and you will be successful. Success follows center. Spend a minute now thinking about how mundane tasks feel when you’re centered and how mundane tasks feel when you’re not. Similarly think about a big event. How does a big event feel when you’re centered and how does a big event feel when you’re not.
This exercise itself should conclude the importance to you of being centered at all times.