Two things we cannot stop are breathing and thinking. In mindfulness practice the most common anchor is the breath. Thoughts come and go and distract us, but the subtle movements of the breath can hold the mind steady. We can fall in love with the mystery of breathing. How is it that air keeps flowing in from outside the body to replenish us and exits the body to cleanse us? Each breath is like a birth and a death. Who or what is in control of this process? Not us.
Observe your breath as you read this. Is it really “yours”? Is it inside of you or outside of you? What is the relationship of your breath to who you think you are? What is more real, your breath or your identity? What is more enduring, breathing or thoughts?
All beings that breathe share this reality. We are all sustained by something that enters and leaves our bodies without our control, giving us life. Without this process we begin to decompose and eventually disappear. The breath unites all beings. It is what we all have in common. Its is a gift we hold for a moment.
While we breathe we have the capacity to love and be loved. We share in the exaltation of the living universe, a mystery which manifests for us in each and every breath. On this snowy day let us not forget, no matter what other news, fake or real, our thoughts bring us.