Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ask Parvati 38: Finding Centre in the Busy Day - Part 1: The Power of the Breath

I feel a bit like a jukebox: ask questions, get blog entries. This week, for
whatever reason, I did not receive any questions from you. Rather than leaving this week's Ask Parvati blog silent, I thought I would share a bit about my daily internal process that helps me remain centred when faced with a busy life. Perhaps this will help shake out some more questions to send my way for next week's blog postings. Remember they need to be in by Thursday. Please send your questions to


We all have our ways to find our place of personal balance. Some like exercise, others prefer quiet time, while others love to get out in nature and go for a good long walk. Whatever works for you, go for it. Life is short and there is only one you through all time and space. So be the best you that you can be!


My "way in" is my spiritual practice, in particular, my meditation practice. Meditation may conjure images of sitting still and quietening the mind. Though my sitting practice is the foundation and heart of my meditation practice, meditation can be practiced at any time, any where, in any place because meditation is about being in non-resistance to what is. The quiet time I spend in sitting meditation is like priming the pump so that I may live my day feeling connected to a much greater whole.


Meditation is a discipline, a way to get out of the way and assist in the redirection of our negative tendencies towards a much greater whole. Our general, unawakened tendency is to see life through the lens of our ego, which wants to separate, categorize, divide and fight or flee. There is nothing wrong with that, per se, except that when we live our lives driven by our ego's whims, we inevitably suffer and cause suffering. At the end of the day, no one really wants that.


If we are to see meditation as a priming of the consciousness pump, then best to tap in when the atmosphere is the most still and unencumbered. That so happens to be between 4am and 6am. Since most of us don't get up at those hours, it is best to practice meditation when we first wake up, ideally early, around 5 or 6am, when the mind is still quiet and fresh from sleep. This way, we give ourselves a sort of head start into practicing stillness and opening to possibility. If we were to meditate say at 9am, or even later in the day such as at 2pm, the atmosphere is more agitated, filled with the business of the active, moving day. Our mind then too would be more agitated and our practice less profound.


Once we develop a daily meditation rhythm that helps us tap in to greater expansion, we may feel drawn to experience the stillness we find in meditation throughout the day. This takes practice. There are many techniques that can help us do this. This week, I will share a few things I do that help me bring my meditation practice from my sitting cushion into my busy day.


In the rush of it all, we can find it easy to forget to breathe. It is amazing how much we tend to hold our breath. When relaxed, our breath flows effortlessly in and out, like the ebb and flow of ocean waves. A relaxed breath helps our whole body relax. And when we are relaxed, we enjoy more and experience life more fully.


At any given time today, tune into your breath and see how it is flowing. If you find yourself holding, take a few deep breaths. If you find yourself breathing comfortably, take a few deep breaths and enjoy the flow of air. Life is amazing, and breathing is a big part of why we are alive!


I will share more mindfulness tips tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy the gift of this day!


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