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Life Between Breaths


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Life Between Breaths

At the moment of our birth, we inhale. At the moment of our death, we exhale. Before we first inhale, there is no ego. After we last exhale, there is no ego. In between our first and last breaths, we breathe in and out mostly unconsciously, and we live in our egos mostly unconsciously. We know we are alive when we are still breathing and when we hear the chatter of our thoughts. We identify with the chatter and think it represents our minds. It is like looking at the ocean and identifying the waves as the ocean. The visible surface is not all there is, but we can’t judge the quiet depths when all we see is the turbulent surface.

Practice meditating with awareness of the space between breaths. Let your awareness follow the breath out of your body and don’t rush to fill the void. Let your breath settle into it’s own rhythm, don’t force it, but become especially attentive to allowing the breath to leave you. The in-breathing will take care of itself. Don’t impede it; just don’t worry about it as you attend to the exhalation and the space behind it. As you relax in your meditation, you may notice the period of non-action between breaths lengthens a bit. Allow your mind to rest in silence in these intervals between breaths.

As you breathe out and in, don’t so much watch your breath as feel it going out, pausing and coming back in. The breath is not an object to be watched so much as it is the process of life happening. Allow yourself to live in this moment quietly, peacefully and fully awake.

If you experience yourself thinking, just label those thoughts as thinking and disengage from them. Assume that your thoughts are merely turbulence left over from the more active part of your day and that they are not important to you right now. When one stirs the mud at the bottom of a small pond, the water becomes muddy. For the water to be clear, one must stop stirring the mud. For our minds to be clear and calm, we need to stop stirring our thoughts. In the space between breaths just be still. No stirring.

source: www.interluderetreat.com

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