I love this chapter. It brings my heart so much peace and calmness just to read it. It ties into the practice of mindfulness – our thoughts and our breath. He makes the point that we get pulled in so many directions in life that we become too busy for the present moment, and he’s so right. I’ve often heard that the moments you feel like you don’t have time for meditation, are the moments you need it the most. This chapter was the reminder I needed to get back into my daily meditation practice.
I know a counselor who ends his sessions with clients by reminding them to breathe. It’s in his voicemail and the signature of his email. It sounds like simple advice but the practice of active breathing is actually not natural. We breathe without thinking about the conscious act of breathing. In Sanskrit, the word for breath is referred to as prana. It’s a verb meaning “to fill with air, life and wind.” When we practice mindful meditation, where we just focus on our prana, we are pulled to the present moment. Time slows. We notice the environment around us with each of our senses.
The challenge is to live our lives as this constant, living meditation. Keep our thoughts from worrying about the future and dwelling on the past. When we truly live in the present moment, which is all we really have, Desai states that we can experience magnificence. We’ll feel fully alive. Our relationships will benefit because we’ll be noticing the simple, little things.
We all have our daily stresses and our worries about the future. The focus here of coming back to our breath, and therefore the present moment, can really help calm those anxieties and help us to reap beautiful moments in the here and now. Moments that will become the memories we’re grateful for in the future. Just breathe. Be present.