In our ever busy world, where busy is honoured, it is no wonder that we are experiencing higher levels of stress, anxiousness and feelings of depression than ever before. And yet, our natural state is to experience calm and clarity. Hard to believe, I know.
When we recognize that we are experiencing stress, anxiousness, or feelings of depression, some of us have had the chance to come to know that meditation and breathing are a potential route to calm and clarity. Just breathe and meditate for X number of minutes a day and you will experience calm! This can be a tall order when our current coping mechanisms are to be busy in order to avoid the incessant string of thoughts, sometimes negative, and worries that run through our mind and do not allow us to access calm.
This is where breathing works to help us to access our ability to naturally be calm. There is tons of biological evidence to support how it is that breath is beneficial (like keeping us alive) but it is simply drawing our focus or attention to our breathing – noticing our inhale and exhale – without any fancy breathing techniques – that allows us to become present in the moment and not be taken down by our problematic thoughts.
The bottom line here is that we can’t change our negative, stressful, or worry thoughts, any more than you can stop thinking about blue right now. Any effort to change these thoughts actually contribute to their strength. Yikes!
This is where considering the image of a muddy glass of water comes in. Trying to change problematic thoughts is like stirring up the glass of water. Turning our attention away from thoughts and focusing, with patience, only on breath – counting breath, saying inhale and exhale, noticing when inhale changes to exhale, noticing the sensations in the body that you experience as you focus on breathing only – allow the mud in the water to settle to the bottom of the glass and create the opportunity for us to experience clarity and calm. This glass of clear water represents our innate ability to experience calm and clarity that are sometimes continually being stirred up when we dwell in our thoughts and worries.