Compulsively hopping from one action to the next, avoiding the unlimited possibilities that lie within stillness because we fear the uncertainty choice brings. We believe that its better to reenact an old pattern whose results we know than to sit with a situation until something new arises.
Rolf Gates (Day 29), “Certainty,” Mediations on Intention and Being
Day 261 – What is certain in our lives at this moment? Breath. Love. Self. Within the hustle and bustle of my everyday, there are a million present moments. Although dreaming is well and good, and self-reflection is optimal for a better tomorrow, there is still the breath, love, and self residing in each moment, whether I am aware and mindful or not.
In today’s reading, Rolf begins with one of the oldest texts on hatha yoga, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, presenting us with evidence of the importance of pranayama. There is a link between attention to and control of the breath and health–spiritual and otherwise. Rolf writes: “If our breathing is chaotic, our minds and emotions will be chaotic as well. If our breathing is steady, our minds and emotions will be steady.”
If you don’t believe the science, experiment with it yourself, Rolf suggests. See how controlling your breath in a period of heightened emotions helps you. When I first read this passage (over a year ago), I thought this was sage advice, but I found, like many people, I totally forgot to do anything in a bad moment. The difference now is that I practice almost daily with my attention on my breath. I try to bring my attention to my breath throughout the day, like a reset. I don’t know if outwardly (to others) it makes a difference; am I calmer, more patient, kinder? I feel like I harbor a capacity for much more in the way of these and I feel more of a sense of presence, or at least I catch myself not being present more and am able to recenter and ground into the hairier moments through my mindfulness. And mindfulness always starts with breath. It is certain.