Slogans are a helpful tool to help us adopt new and skillful behaviors and attitudes. For details on how to work with slogans, read, "How to use slogans to transform your life."
The slogan, “breathe” is a loving reminder to take multiple, short, one-breath-long mini-meditations throughout your day, as often as you remember to. This article will explain how to do a mini-breath meditation, the benefits you may receive from doing them, and when to do them.
How does one do a mini-breath-meditation?
A mini-meditation is taking one, or more, conscious breaths. To take a conscious breath, take a slow and deep inhale and a slow and quiet exhale while placing all (or most) of your attention on feeling the sensations of breath. This can be done with eyes opened or eyes closed, depending on what is appropriate for the situation.
Feel for the sensations of breath on the area of skin between your upper lip and nose, and on the skin in and around your nostrils. The sensations in this area may be very subtle; things like warmth of the out-breath, coolness of the in-breath, pressure from the air going in and out, pulsing, vibrating, tingling, moisture, dryness, and so on. If you are having a hard time feeling anything, gently increase the force of your breath until you can feel it moving over your skin in the area described.
As you work with the slogan, use the guided breath meditations as your daily meditation to develop mastery of the technique.
What are the benefits of mini-breath-meditations?
Mini-breath meditations provide many benefits. When all or most of your attention is placed on the sensations of the breath, it temporarily stops all thinking. By briefly halting the constant barrage of thoughts, more peace, more spaciousness, and a broader perspective arises that will allow you to be more clam, see the situation more clearly, and respond more skillfully. Doing frequent mini-meditations will help you be more relaxed, joyful, patient, and understanding. Don't believe something so simple, could be so powerful? Try it out for a few weeks and see.
When is it wise to take a mini-breath-meditations?
Take a conscious breath as often as possible, whenever you remember to. This will dramatically improve your life. Here are some examples of when to do it:
• Do a mini-meditation whenever you are waiting. Are you in line at a store, restaurant, or post office? Are you waiting for a train or bus, or stuck in traffic? Did the person on the other end of the call put you on hold? Take a conscious breath. This will help you feel more peace, patience, and tranquility as you wait. If you are addicted to, or compulsively use, your smart phone when waiting, be sure to take a conscious breath or two before you start using your phone. You can use this image as the lock screen of your smartphone to remind you to do that:
• Take a mini-breath-meditation when you are appreciating nature. Whether you are watching a sunset, taking a walk through the park, looking at a tree, cloud, or flower, or hearing a bird sing, pause to take a conscious breath. This will help you feel awe, appreciate beauty, connect with other life forms, and be clam, relaxed, and joyful.
• Do a mini-breath-meditation while listening to others. Surprisingly, it will help you better pay attention to what the other person is saying. By putting your attention into the felt sensations of breath, you disrupt the mind’s distracting habit of thinking of what you want to say or having a running commentary on what they are saying. Without that distraction, you can hear them more fully. Try this out for a few weeks and see for yourself how much better you become at listening to others.
• Take a conscious breath whenever a disturbing emotion arises. Are you feeling impatient, angry, frustrated, annoyed, hateful, sad, depressed, overwhelmed, jealous, embarrassed, or other upsetting emotion? Take a conscious breath. Breathe in some spaciousness and clarity to help you have a more open, expansive, and creative perspective on your situation.
• Play and experiment with taking mini-meditations in a variety of situations whenever you remember to. Life is an adventure. Play with these mini-meditations in a variety of situations and see what happens. What happens if I do this when my mind is racing while I’m trying to go to sleep? What happens when I do this when my friend is scolding me? What if I do this as I transition from one activity to the next? Or before I blow out the candles on my birthday cake? Have fun with it. Let mini-meditations be part of your life adventure.
So put a sign “breathe” on your bathroom mirror so you see it every morning. Use the above images to have the slogan be on your phone and computer. Every time you see the slogan, let it remind you of your noble intention to do lots of mini-breath-meditations throughout your day. Especially do them when waiting, when appreciating nature, when listening to others, when disturbing emotions arise, and whenever else you remember to do them.
Then pay attention to how radically this simple, easy, habit transforms your life for the better. Feel how there is more peace, calmness, tranquility, and joy in your life. Notice how you are becoming a better listener and how this is improving your relationships. Observe how there is more clarity, creativity, and perspective in your thoughts. Enjoy your ability to better appreciate and savor the beauty, wonder, and awesomeness of the life all around you.
All of this may be yours if you simply remember to “breathe.” ☺