Discovering the Space Around the Breath
We tend to think of our body as a solid mass and that the breath moves through this relatively small space of our windpipe and lungs. However, if we change the way we think about the space inhabited by our breath, and therefore the life force, we can change the way we experience the space inhabited by our soul or consciousness.
Meditation affects the body as well as the mind. When the mind is cluttered with thoughts, the body responds by trying to take action, such as by taking shorter breaths and tensing muscles, which causes tension. Meditation stills the mind and thereby relaxes the body. In addition, the deeper breathing and expanding awareness open the constricted body by introducing space into and around it.
During meditation, with each inhalation, become aware of the space around your breath. As your awareness expands with the expansion of your lungs, gradually the expansion begins to take up more and more space within your body. After all, the atoms that make up your body are also mostly empty space. As your meditation continues, your entire body begins to feel lighter, almost like a balloon!
Become aware that you are aware of the space around your breath. As you move deeper into meditation and continue to expand your awareness, the space around your breath could take up the whole room and beyond.
The space around your breath is of the same quality of that space that holds all of creation within it: the space that contains your body, your thoughts and emotions, the planet and the whole manifest universe. By means of meditation, your awareness of the space around your breath could be that far reaching.
Thoughts and feelings are but clouds moving swiftly along that open sky of conscious awareness and you are merely the observer, watching them come and go, while being aware of yourself watching them come and go.
There are no hard, definable edges to our consciousness. With practice, we find that we can experience greater space in our mind and bodies. And like the cow who anxiously pushes her boundaries in a small pen but grazes peacefully in one spot when allowed plenty of space, the mind become blissfully still so that we can bathe in complete presence. Then, we can experience one-pointed awareness on the immediate breath, while being simultaneously aware, far and wide in all directions, of a space so much bigger than ourselves.
It’s a wonderful journey to embark on – a discovery of your being as one part of the whole, as above so below. With a body feeling so open and a mind so still, meditation offers a feeling of lightness and rightness in being.
Photography: Fritz Photography
Writing: Melanie Drury