Your breath happens in the present moment.
You cannot breathe in the past.
You have taken breaths in the past, but your breath does not happen in the past.
You cannot breathe in the future.
There will be breaths that you take in the future, but they haven’t happened yet. You will only be aware of them when they do happen in future moments.
The only breath that you can be aware of and that you can experience is the breath that you are taking right now.
Bringing your awareness to your breath transports you instantly and effortlessly to the present moment. Why is this important? Because this moment, right now is the only moment that actually exists; it is the only moment that you can actually have awareness of. It is the only moment in which you can experience being alive.
Your breath is intrinsically connected with your aliveness. If you are not breathing, you are not alive. Whilst it is true that you can hold your breath; that you can suspend breathing for a period of time. It doesn’t take very long before your body starts screaming at you to breathe. It is impossible for you to be anywhere other than here and now when you are aware only of your breath, (even if you are holding it).
If we focus our awareness totally on one thing, then we are unable to be aware of anything else. If we do become aware of other things then we are no longer aware of our breath, we are distracted; but if we are aware only of our breath then everything else disappears. If we are aware only of our breath then there is no thought. If there is no thought then there isn’t any fear. Fear is nothing more than a thought; fear is not a real thing. If there are no thoughts then there are no judgments of the present situation. If there is no fear and no judgments, then there is no anxiety, no stress; there isn’t any unhappiness in this moment.
You experience freedom.
Fear is not a real thing; a table is a thing, an apple is a thing. Yet people believe that fear is a thing. Because they experience fearful thoughts and these generate emotional and physical reactions they believe that fear is a real thing. The truth is that fear is just an idea, a thought. Just because these thoughts are not created consciously, does not mean they are real. Why are people afraid of different things? Why do some people not seem to fear anything? The answer, because fear is not a real thing, it is a thought.
Fear is so potent because people believe that it is not something they can control. And yet by simply bringing your awareness to your breath, by suspending all thought and fear disappears. By learning to control what you hold in your awareness you can take control of fear and remove it.
Bring your awareness to your breath now. You will notice that it consists of three parts:
You breathe in.
You breathe out.
Then there is a pause.
Close your eyes and follow each of these three parts as they happen for the next few breaths. How do you feel? What happens when you become aware of the pause between breaths?
In the pause between breaths you can become aware of stillness; your mind is still, your body is still.
There is peace in the stillness of the pause between breaths.
In this moment of peaceful stillness you are just being.
You are not a human doing. You are not a human thinking. You are a human being. You can allow yourself to just BE in the pause between breaths.
Being aware of your breath is not an exercise to distract yourself from your fears and anxieties. It is the practice of letting go of “thinking” and “doing”. Of embracing the present moment and of becoming aware of what is and isn’t real. Bringing awareness to your breath is not hiding yourself from reality; it is experiencing being alive, absolutely and in this moment.