It struck me while I was sitting cross legged on the floor ready for my meditation session that breathing is the first and the last act of life. It is by no means a novel thought but the realization was loud and clear. And breathing is also the only consistent companion that we have. When everything and everyone else in life including oneself is changing, it is comforting to know that breath will take us through to the end.
The breath that is gentle and full when we are sound asleep and the breath that is shallow and quick with a burning tinge when we are anxious. This breath is an indication of our wellbeing and happiness. We can send this breath to the different parts our body as a messenger of goodwill. I like to send it to my scalp to get a mild tingling buzz and to my stomach to calm the angry juices of anxiety and to the tips of my toes to see how far it can go.
The breath also brings us closer to people and heal troubled relationships. Immersed in my own drama and my pettiness; the few breaths before I go to sleep or when I wake up; is the only time I have to think of a dear family member suffering from cancer; or a friend who is struggling to find the right direction; or strangers who are living in war ravaged zones. With one breath in I attempt to take away their pain and with one breath out I send you my love and happiness. This is the time and space that my breath allows me to acknowledge that there is a larger circle that is beyond me and mine, a larger cosmic connection beyond the everyday.
Then there are troubled relationships- a rift between minds and hearts that seem at times insurmountable; there is jealousy and anger; and there is that perception of ‘you did me wrong’. I think of these faces and personalities and keep them close to my heart as I breathe in and breathe out realizing that while we have our differences now, in the grand scheme of things we are all characters playing out our part and going through our struggle.
And there is silence, my good old friend, that comes and finds me in early mornings or late nights when the house is asleep; in the middle of chaotic traffic in between red lights; and in the middle of a large family reunion; and wraps me deep inside its fold like a loving mother. When I find silence, I also find breath there, waiting for me. And for a few minutes, the silence and the breath become my world and everything else dissolves and I feel myself go back to the beginning that zero that one point where we all came from.