I got a note from a friend a while back who wanted to have lunch. Apparently she had been down with upper respiratory problems because she said, "I can breathe again!"
When your ability to take in air and distribute oxygen to your cells is limited, all kinds of problems occur as a result. I've had pollen related asthma problems all my adult life, so I'm well acquainted with the blessing of being able to breathe freely again.
Not long ago, I started meditating. I noticed that in most meditations, you are encouraged to focus on your breathing. Some instructors want you to count your breaths. Some think it works better to only count the in and out. One, two, one two, one two. That way your don't have to worry about losing count.
I listened to one that suggested that on the intake, you say the word, "peace" and on the exhale, "calm". And of course, there is that old one that DJRonnieBruno used as the intro on his "Optimism" cd, "Take a long, slow, deep breath -- and relax."
I happened upon a website, "Breathing for Peace". They encourage everyone to stop three times a day and take three long slow deep breaths - for world peace. I didn't have time to stay there long so I'm not going to even try to tell you their mission or their thought process. Check it out for yourself if you want, at www.breatheforpeace.org
I was listening to Belle Ruth Naperstek's "Meditation For Healthful Sleep." Usually, I'm asleep five minutes into the cd, but this time, I caught a phrase "the healing power of the breath".
The phrase stuck with me and I woke up thinking about it. On this cd, she guides the listener to relax by focusing on the way the body rises and falls with the intake and exhale. She instructs the listener to "breathe into any discomfort" and "imagine the warm energy of your breath relaxing and softening the tension, then releasing it through the exhale."
At first I thought this was odd, then I remembered cupping my hands around my mouth on a cold winter day and blowing my warm breath onto my freezing fingers. I remembered times when I'm cold at night, covering my head and letting the energy of my breath warm my face.
Most of us take breathing for granted. We don't think about it much until something threatens our ability to breathe. Most of us only think about breathing in the context that if we can't breathe, we'll die. Nothing lives if it can't breathe.
When we perform CPR to "save" someone, we give them the energy of our own breath through mouth to mouth resuscitation.
Recently, I found this jewel from Abraham: "There is nothing about your physical awareness that connects you more to the Non-Physical aspect of your being than that of your breathing. Many assume that the process of breathing is only about your physical nature but that is not the case. The process of breathing is … the flowing of Spirit to you and through you. That is the reason that when the focusing of Spirit through your physical body ceases, your breathing ceases also."
Figuring out how to use the "healing power of the breath" might well be a major step forward in the spiritual and physical evolution of mankind. It just might be the way toward better health for all of us.
So when you're feeling stressed, take a long slow deep breath, tell yourself, "this too shall pass" or "Oh well, in the grand scheme of things, this doesn't really matter" or even my personal favorite, "I don't give a shit."