The Wandering Monk

Brewmaster Rysu – New Posts On Tuesdays

The Breath of Life

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Try listening to Weightless by Marconi Union, especially while sitting and contemplating this week’s thought.

Breathing.  It is as synonymous with life as water, and just as vital idealistically, conceptually, and metaphysically.  Through breathing, we reconcile many mental path.  When we’re frustrated, we take deep breaths.  When we’re tired, we breath slower.  The lull of our mothers’ breathing as infants program us to fall asleep to the steady pulsing rhythm of her breath and heartbeat.

So it’s no surprise that, when I was meditating and asking myself to help bring the concept of living into a simple thought, my mind drifted towards breathing.  Life has been a bit troubling lately.  I don’t really know why, or precisely what the problem is.  If you asked me “What’s wrong?” I’d say “So much, yet nothing at all.” And you’d look at me funny, and I’d feel just as funny.

My main problem is that I can’t seem to put my finger on a lingering sense of unrest that has been creeping up in my mind.  I feel unfinished, unfocused, unbalanced. I feel taxed at work, drained and lifeless, and I feel as though the thing that is who I am is the reverb of an echo of what it once was.

In life, I think our biggest hurdles are ourselves and being in our own minds.  Intelligence of all kinds can be a curse.  Emotional Intelligence gives us the insight to analyze our own feelings even as we are affected by them – which spirals because we are affected by our analysis, which alters them, which causes to reanalyize, and it repeats.  Spiritual intelligence merely tells us what we’re missing and how we should idealistically live our lives, and our analysis of our lives sends us towards sadness because we aren’t meeting our own standards.

Is there hope for me?

As Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn and the Buddha said, “There is no way to happiness.  Happiness is the way.”

Consider the truth in these words.  We do not end with happiness after we’ve suffered – perhaps the contrast is necessary for a certain amount of appreciation (the rule of true existence demands the negative of a thing to exist) — we begin living once we’ve accepted happiness is a choice and not a destination.  It is not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it is the rainbow road itself.

Happiness is the inhale and the exhale.  It is the touch of your loved one’s skin and the thousand gentle reminders of life and living in our daily lives. 

We only need to remind ourselves frequently and to embrace the positivity in all things – even the bad ones – because it is all living and to live is to embrace the greatest gift we can have.

The last time I meditated my contemplation was to consider life in the summary of simple things.  I used breathing as my analogy.  Here is what I wrote:

Each breath is life in its fullest.  When I breath in, I am born.  My lungs grow and expand as I did in childhood; they are filled with endless possibilities.  I prepare to be anything and everything I want.  The potential is limitless.  For the briefest of moments all is still when the apex of my breath is realized.  I am full of life.

 When I breath out, I express all that I am.  Perhaps a song, perhaps a word chosen carefully.  Perhaps my exhale is an idea.  Whatever it is, my breath does not condemn itself for not being something else.  It does not say ‘if only I was something else’.  It becomes what it is and does its best to be this thing, content only in the moment of its being. 

 This is how life must be. 

 If we are the breath of the universe, then we must celebrate the billions of forms each exhale has taken, for when it is gone and the air has left our lungs, we must inevitably breathe deeply again, so that we may be the best exhale we can be.


Stay kind.

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