Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mindfulness of Breathing

“Mindful, he breathes in, and mindful, he breathes out. He, thinking, 'I breathe in long,' he understands when he is breathing in long; or thinking, 'I breathe out long,' he understands when he is breathing out long; or thinking, 'I breathe in short,' he understands when he is breathing in short; or thinking, 'I breathe out short,' he understands when he is breathing out short.

Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe in,' thinking thus, he trains himself. 'Experiencing the whole body, I shall breathe out,' thinking thus, he trains himself. 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe in,' thinking thus, he trains himself. 'Calming the activity of the body, I shall breathe out,' thinking thus, he trains himself.”

The above saying Buddha is taken from the “Maha satipatthana Sutta” meaning “The Great Discourse on the Establishing of Mindfulness” is one of the most important and widely studied discourses in the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism.
The meaning is very self explanatory at the out set. But to know what is the process that is taking place during this practice is very important.

it is also important to understand the concept of "mindfulness." Mindfulness is a state of present awareness. A relaxed state of mind, in which we are conscious of our experience, including sensations, thoughts and feelings, breathing, and surroundings, all with an attitude of non-resistance, peace and acceptance. This does not imply passivity or lack of emotion. Mindfulness engenders faith in the perfection of the moment, and allows each new experience to be felt fully, without the reactive, self-critical, controlling mind.

Breathing is something we do involuntarily at every living moment in our lives. The air we breath is the vital ingredient that carries the energy that is generated through the food and water we intake or the solar energy we transform through our skin. Most of us have very little body awareness. It is the intersection of the body process and the state of mind which is responsible for a well balance energy transference to every living cell in the organs of our body.

During this discourse, the Buddha brings out the example of a well trained ‘turner’ who is operating a mechanical lathe driven by a pulley and wheel. The skilful turner needs a deft feel for the rate of rotation and the mechanical pressure of the tool to carve out the exact shape of the artefact which he is making. Similarly, by the process of mindful breathing, the duration of breathing in and breathing out controls the distribution of energy and expelling of the after-wash from every organ.

The intension of observance is very important ingredient in this process. The mind is the result of our individual consciousness and it is in the same consciousness field the functioning of the organs and cell of the body are rooted. The unbalance in the operation of our body happens when the mind is separated either as being the by-product of the brain, which is another body part, or as an agent of pure thinking which lies outside the realm of body function. This duality destroys the inter-migratory nature of the integral mind-body construct.

Through the mindful breathing the vital life energy can be directed to every cell in the body. This directing is done by the mind through intention. This requires constant training, but in reality is being achieved by the great Tibetan Lamas. They can control their body temperature to the required standard value of 98.4 o Fahrenheit, even when their bare bodies are exposed to severe winter temperatures. This is not our intension as common folks but we can experience glowing health and unrestricted flow of energy through our body as a result of our constant practice of mindful breathing.

The next level of awakening will be the disappearance of the mind-body duality and the transference of the self to the pure mind state. This is an essential step in our spiritual exercise.

Love to you all

1 comment :

  1. Just observing our breathing for 5 minutes everyday is a great exercise.

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