Meditation and Breath

Meditation can mean many things to many people. Recently, I've found that it is a wonderful escape from the constant stream of thoughts that flow through my mind. As an entrepreneur, I love having many ideas to choose from. A new marketing concept? A new way to increase sales? Have I discovered an improvement to my product or service? Can I make a greater positive impact on my customers?

While each of these concepts is positive, too many exciting ideas can often lead to confusion or lack of direction. What do I do first? What's most cost effective?...oh dear. And this is just one aspect of my life. Once I add relationships, family functions, responsibilities, expectations, dreams, inspiration and countless other thoughts, how can I expect to get anything done? With so many thoughts vying for my attention, I sometimes marvel that I accomplish any tasks!

Enter meditation: a quiet and serene attempt to quiet my mind and ground myself. What a wonderful theory, but if you've ever tried this hopeful activity, you'll understand that quieting yourself often makes the rushing thoughts much louder! I expressed this frustration to a friend of mine and he suggested that I should focus on my breathing, when trying to meditate. Worth a try, even if it does sound too simple to be worthwhile.

It turns out that simplicity is effective. As I sat down and focused on my breathing, I felt stupid, but remarkably calm and clear headed. I sat and counted the length of each breath, both when inhaling and exhaling. The most amazing part of the experience was not the absence of external thoughts, but the presence of a single thought. As I focused more and more on each breath, I came to realize just how much I take breathing for granted. I never think about it. Do you?

Breath brings oxygen to my body and life to my cells. It makes everything possible, including the plethora of thoughts and human drama that I create. How is it, then, that the act of breathing has become relegated to such a low level of my consciousness? You could argue that it is a good thing that we I have to think about every breath, because that would make all other thoughts and actions very difficult. I agree. But to forget completely is also a poor decision.

Ignorance is an excellent way to miss out on a very fulfilling state of mind: gratitude. In recognizing my breath, I was able to appreciate the complexity of life and understand that all of my self-made drama is impossible without the breath of life.

It seems that this foundational aspect of life is out of my control...and maybe it is a good thing. Control is not always helpful or necessary, but gratitude is. In being grateful, I can appreciate the complexity of life, while being satisfied in the knowledge that I will never fully understand it. If you have trouble quieting your mind, like I do, try focusing on your breath...the experience might just change your life.

Matt Stupar is a lover, a thinker and, generally, an okay guy. He also likes to hula hoop and teach people how to have fun with fitness.

You can connect with Matt on Ezine @rticles, Twitter and Facebook (through his profile) or keep up to date with his fitness adventures at http://www.hiphoophooray.com

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