In sessions people often find great comfort, soothing, and a sense of grounding in taking even one mindful breath. A mindful breath simply means that in a stance of “just noticing,” we watch with soft attention and awareness the movement of the breath through a full in breath to the top and a full out-breath to the bottom, maybe even noticing a quiet moment before the next in-breath when everything is still. This doesn’t require a particularly long breath or full breath, just an awareness of what isthere as we tune into it. The next thing people say is “I wish I could remember to do that on my own!” While I don’t teach a mindfulness program in therapy because that can create an opportunity to feel like one is not doing one’s homework like a good student (Yuck!) I do invite as many opportunities for “just noticing” as feel helpful. As zen master Thich Nhat Hanh says, soon this becomes like brushing the teeth. We get so accustomed to keeping our teeth clean that it feels uncomfortable when we don’t. The more we get used to refreshing ourselves with an awareness of our breath, we get used to that good feeling and will naturally start to crave it. This is also a useful tool in handling strong feelings, but that is a taller order! It’s helpful to start easy, just with the breath. I heard once, and believe to be true, that each time we take a breath in full awareness, we heal a little bit.
Posted in Transformation through awareness