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5. Breathing in Peace

Author: Barry Thorogood

Added: December 16 2012


Mindfulness is being in the present moment. When you are in the present moment you are both alive and aware.

The past is history.
The future is mystery.
The present is a gift.
That is why it is called the present.

Deepak Chopra

When you are in the past you are always thinking of the past and how things were. You are not aware of reality - how things really are. When you are in the future you are always thinking of how things could be, not as they actually are.

In both cases you are unaware of reality. You are not in the present moment.

If the present moment is painful for you, then living in the past or the future may be your way of avoiding your pain. But it does not do anything. Your pain still exists. Your pain can be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

If you are in pain, or in denial then it is beneficial to be in the present moment, in its most simple form. This can heal you and bring happiness back into your life.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist Master teaches this simple meditation that centres on your breath:

Find yourself a quiet comfortable place where you will not be disturbed.
Start by breathing in. As you breathe in say to yourself

"Breathing in, I know I am breathing in"

By doing this you become aware of your breathing.

Breathing out, you say to yourself

"Breathing out, I know I am breathing out."

Repeat this several times. Do not force your breathing. Keep it natural.

You may like to shorten it to:

"Breathing in."
"Breathing out."

Do this in time with your breath and you will start to relax

If you are able to breathe in, that means that you are alive! That is a bonus.

How wonderful to be alive! 

However, you may not feel this if you are depressed or in pain.

To take your mind off the pain, go back to your breathing. If you have no pain, enjoy the breathing.

Breathing in, say to yourself:

"Breathing in, I breathe in deep."

We do not breathe in deeply enough. We often breathe shallowly or coarsely, especially if we are in fear. To breathe in clean air is a treat. Breathe in deeply, so that your lungs expand into your abdomen. If you place your hand over your abdomen you will feel it rise and expand. By doing this you become more aware of your body. Later we will teach you the yogic breath.

Breathing out, say to yourself:

"Breathing out, I breathe out slow."

You are breathing out slowly because you breathed in so deeply. It is a natural process.

It is good to slow down. In this modern world we do everything too fast. We fill our space with activity, as if we stopped the whole world would come to an end. That is not so.

We are in danger of becoming human doings instead of human beings. We have forgotten how wonderful it is to 'be'

"To be, or not to be?
That is the question."

William Shakespeare

Again, you can simplify your conscious breathing to:


Say this to your self, in time with your breathing. Repeat at least 6 times

Now you can go to the next stage.
You will feel yourself relaxing. As you breathe in say to yourself:

"Breathing in, I relax."

As you breathe out say:

"Breathing out, I am at ease."

It is good to be at ease with yourself. No criticism. No judgement

Shorten this, in time with your in and out breaths to:

"At ease."

As you begin to relax and feel at ease you will start to realise how wonderful it is to be in the present moment. So say this to yourself as you breathe in:

"Breathing in, I am in the present moment"

And as you breathe out say this to yourself:

"Breathing out, it is a wonderful moment.."

Shorten this, in time with your in and out breaths to:

"Present moment."
"Wonderful moment."

The whole point of this is to enable you to get into the present moment. Research has shown that mindfulness is the most beneficial and successful treatment for stress and depression, better than any expensive, harmful and potentially addictive anti-depressants. And mindfulness is free!

With regards management, taking decisions based on present moment reality has to be good.

Barry Thorogood

5. Breathing in Peace