One of the greatest benefits I receive from my meditation practice is a deep sense of gratitude. The ability to check out of overwhelming thought patterns and the anxieties that stem from them is an obvious boon, but being truly grateful for life and each day is an added benefit that arises once you start to settle into that blissful space which appears when you are unattached to those same patterns. A mindfulness of my breathing allows me to remember that even when I am feeling particularly stressed or overwhelmed, there are forces always on my side, working to keep me alive. No matter what is happening externally, internally my heart is beating and my lungs are filling so that I may continue to exist, without any concerted effort on my behalf. In this way, I can stay connected to the idea that things are always happening for me, not to me.
It can be hard to maintain a positive mindset when I am faced with a challenge, and a mindfulness of my breath is something that deeply serves me in these instances. In the moments where I feel ungrounded – frantic, chaotic, upset, or low energy- returning to the fact that I am able to inhale and exhale without any effort at all is a positive reminder that it’s entirely okay to just be present with each moment and that I am taken care of. This is a simple practice that I can do anytime, anywhere. It doesn’t require me to close my eyes, have any equipment, or need instructions. I can do it while driving, while walking, while doing the dishes. The beauty of mindfulness practices is that in general, they are always this way. We are able to bring ourselves back to our natural state of peace and tranquility with very simple shifts. By noticing my breath, anytime, anywhere, I can dramatically change my experience of life to be more positive.