Today the sun came out after an incredible all night down pour and as I read the first two lines of one of my favorite author’s books  it was as if the clouds opened up and the light suddenly came on  in my mind as well!

“We already have everything we need.  There is no need for self improvement.”  (Start Where You Are by Pema Chodron)

As I launched into my morning sitting practice and began to breathe deeply at first and then finally settling into the natural flow of  my in breath and out breath – I understood these words in a way that perhaps I never had.  Here it was, everything I needed was here inside of me and I didn’t have to fix it or control it.  It wasn’t a problem to solve or an answer to come up with.  It was the natural even rhythm of my breath flowing in and out like the sea flows into shore and back out again.

I have been meditating for some years now and love to practice as much as I love to teach it.  When I really examined these two lines while I surrendered to my breath I knew that without it I would not exist.  This breath, this vital source of oxygen, prana, life force that flows naturally in and out all day and night is perfect and peaceful and harmonious and it is there for all of us, all the time.   I understood quite clearly that if this is our essential nature, like the beat of the heart and the waves of the brain, all flowing in some perfectly rhythmic flow that every complication or stress was simply coming from the outside.

Now here is where it gets a little tricky with meditation, because we are using this perfect flow of breath to manage the busy monkey mind!  Like using a feather to fight a sword.  One is honed, habituated to the battle, the other is gentle, yielding, light.

This is why PRACTICE is the key word to our meditation, it is the mind doing tai chi in the middle of a busy freeway!  But practice is all there is and the great thing is the KEY to successfully taming that monkey mind is to focus on the breath, watch the breath, count the breath, direct the breath up and down the spine, play with the breath and enjoy the spoils!

Practice:

Take a deep breath and notice how you feel…take another and count how long it takes to inhale and then count the exhale.  Do this a few times til the monkey mind gets bored and wants more action!  Now bring the breath into the base of the spine, and while inhaling imagine the breath gliding up the spine til it touches the roof of the mouth, light as a feather!  Now allow the breath to float back down the spine on the exhale splashing down into the pool of the belly.  Up and down, in and out.  Practice for 3 minutes and see how you feel.

You already have everything you need…just follow the breath it knows what to do!

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