The very basis of life is breath. If we have to check whether a person is alive or not, we check the breath. It is that important aspect of life. But here is the catch, just because we are breathing doesn’t mean that we are alive. There’s a difference between being alive and being in existence.
Being alive means full of life where you are in charge of life and each moment is a memory in itself. It is the humans who have this wonderful capacity to be alive, because it requires a conscious choice to be alive. We are highest evolved creatures on this planet for a reason and tragedy happens when we don’t recognise this very fact and live a life far away from its full potential.
We are living a life of existence. It is a survival instinct. Being this advanced and still living on the theory of Charles Darwin which is, Survival of the fittest. But is survival everything? I guess no, it is just the basic and we have a lot to explore.
So the very first and basic thing that we need to explore is learning how to breathe. Sounds stupid, I guess it is because what’s more stupid is ignoring the fact that we know breathing.
Have we ever realised that the whole world can be understood via breathing. Breathing is the continuous exchange of gases whereby you inhale what you want (O2) and exhale what you don’t want but have surplus (CO2). Beauty lies when we realise that what we don’t want is the want of someone else, plant needs CO2 for their survival. Imagine how beautiful this whole ecosystem works when you are just giving what you don’t want and in return receive everything that you want, be it food, oxygen or shelter at times. So this exchange is the very basis of life but problem starts when we start holding on to things. Try holding your breath for 2 minutes. Suffocating, isn’t it? If you pause after inhaling, it's same as pausing after exhaling. There’s suffocation in both the cases.
Similarly, in life, Until and unless you don’t let go of what you don’t want, you won’t be able to receive the next thing that you want. You continuously have to accept new things like breath and release old things which aren’t serving any purpose in your life just like breath.
So does that mean we shouldn’t accumulate? No that’s not the point exactly. Let’s understand how a yogi empowers himself through breath.
A yogi inhales and hold as long as he can and then exhales and repeat the process for considerable period of time which increases his stamina but this is just one side of the coin. A yogi also empowers himself by exhaling and then holding for as long as he can. He has to be empowered in both the ways. The former helps him in increasing his lungs power and oxygenating his body which creates an anti-aging effect. The latter helps him in building mental strength when he has nothing and it makes him realise the value of the new thing coming. Both are necessary and I believe we should experience both of them.
How can this be related to life? I would do pranayama, happy? That’s not the point. We should apply this same concept in life. Hold onto things as long as they are serving purpose and then give it to someone for whom it would be same valuable. Hold as long as you can and is needed. Similarly, if you are not receiving something then hold and focus on your inner being. It calls for an opportunity to mould your character and prepare yourself to handle it as soon as you receive it. Learning respect and patience from this simple act. The more we try to accumulate, more heavy it becomes and remember it’s you who have to carry the burden. You can let go of things which doesn’t serve you and hold onto things which would serve you. This is the theory of evaluation and growth.
Same fundamental can be applied to past and future events. Life is in the present moment and you can perceive it only when you are conscious. So conscious breathing is basically accepting whatever comes and letting go of whatever goes. Life is in this moment. Maybe you lost friends, that’s amazing because you have created space for new friends to come.
Let’s look at this from another perspective and in another domain. How do we breathe when there is foul smell? We breathe shallow that is we exchange less and vice versa is the case when its fragrance. We inhale deeply as if trying to make that fragrance reach each and every cell of our body. That is the key. When in life, surrounded by people who degrade or demotivate you then exchange less with them and when it comes to people who motivate you and inspire you then you know what to do now.
At last I would like to conclude that no matter whatever happens, remember to breathe. Absence of breath is absence of life. Whatever happens, JUST BREATHE.
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