903rd Week: Breathing In and Breathing Out

Listening to the news recently, I found myself returning to a meditation from the Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s a very simple one and yet I find that, each time I do it, it invites me to more easily settle deeply into my grounded, embodied presence. So, for this week’s offering, I thought I would share this with those of you who haven’t learned it before and perhaps remind those of you who are familiar with it that it’s a very useful and helpful practice.

And so, for this week’s practice, I invite you to do the following at least once a day and perhaps to develop a habit of turning to it whenever you need support in returning to your heart space, grounding yourself, and/or simply taking some time to access quiet presence.

  • To begin, sit down somewhere comfortable so that you are supported and able to stay alert. 
  • Give yourself a few moments to arrive at your internal landing place, your internal center of gravity. Sense yourself settling in the same way the snow in a shaken snow globe eventually settles to the bottom of the globe.
  • Focus your awareness in your heart space and take a few breaths in and out of your heart. 
  • On the next in-breath, say to yourself mentally, “Breathing in, I arrive.”
  • Then, on the out-breath, say to yourself mentally, “Breathing out, I am home.”
  • You might want to take a moment to deepen your experience of being “home” as you do this practice.
  • Breathe in and out as many times as you would like to do, allowing yourself to take time to take in the felt-sense experience of arriving “home” in yourself.
  • When you’re ready, reorient yourself to the environment around you, allowing yourself to continue to resonate with being “home” in yourself in whatever way feels right to you.
  • As you explore this meditation practice, the important thing is to do it at your own pace, allowing yourself all the time you need to deepen your experience. 

As with all these practices, please be sure to bring along curiosity as your constant companion and to pat gently on the head any judgments that may arise. Allow them to move on through without your having to do anything with or about them. And, if you are someone who isn’t familiar with moving more deeply into your body, please be gentle with your exploration and be sure to make room for mixed feelings, as they are an inevitable aspect of your wholeness.

If you listen to the audio recording of this meditation, be sure to put it on pause when you want to take more time between steps than is on the recording and, also, please remember never to listen to guided meditations while driving or operating dangerous machinery.

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