how to stay

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All the water below me came from above.
All the clouds living in the mountains
gave it to the rivers,
who gave it to the sea, which was their dying.

And so I float on cloud become water,
central sea surrounded by white mountains,
the water salt, once fresh,
cloud fall and stream rush, tree root and tide bank,
leading to the rivers’ mouths
and the mouths of the rivers sing into the sea,
the stories buried in the mountains
give out into the sea
and the sea remembers
and sings back, from the depths,
where nothing is forgotten.

~David Whyte

oh how we forget that to sit still, to be calm, to lessen our inner war-  we have to just stop…..just….

inquiry for today~   three breaths…..yes, notice them, create space around them, enjoy then……

So, for someone who just wants to bring the peace of mind and clarity that meditation can bring, where should we start? What do we need to know? What should we concentrate on?

I once bought this subject up with my mentor at Plum Village, Thích Nhat Hanh mindfulness sanctuary in France. He looked at me for a long moment, taking his time with his answer (as Buddhist monks will do). He took a deep breath, smiled, and said:

“Enjoy breathing, my brother. Just enjoy breathing.”

I knew exactly what he meant—like most things in life, the simplest way is always the most effective and meditation is no exception.

What he was cryptically encouraging me toward was breathing meditation, or mindfulness of breath. It’s the simplest yet most difficult practice to master; there are no apps, no memberships, and no costly celebrity-endorsed six-week courses needed.

Just breathe.

So, why choose breathing meditation? It’s so simple, not very sexy, a bit boring, and easy to get distracted from! So why focus on just the breath?

The reason is basically this:

As breathing is the foundation of life, so too is breathing meditation the foundation of all practices.

When we can truly be mindful of our breath, great concentration (for anything) will arise, and compassion and joy will be found in the present moment.

But first we must enjoy breathing.

Our breath is constant and effortless, and we carry it with us wherever we go. With practice, it becomes a beautiful anchor that centers and grounds us.

Sitting meditation is just the practice—it is here we “practice” our concentration by being mindful of our breath, but we can, and should, meditate throughout our daily lives, in any situation. Your breath is always with you, always present and constant. So, whenever you desire, I invite you to go back to meet it.

This is true meditation:

On a bus, notice your breath. While walking down the street, notice your breath. During a conversation, while washing the dishes or brushing your teeth, and even when you’re eating, notice your breath. Use your breath to bring you back to the present moment and let your “mind-be-full” of that which you are doing and empty of that which you are not.

Life is full of distractions, especially life in a city with noise, lights, commercials, stimulants, and people—our senses are continuously being bombarded. We all need to take refuge at times, and I invite you to take refuge in your breath. This is a wonderful gift to carry with you throughout your life.   ~Gregg Lowe

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