The world of meditation can be confusing. We may feel it is important to meditate. We understand it is a way of accessing our deeper spiritual self.
But which approach should we adopt? Should we seek a mantra? Should we return to the breath and observe our thoughts and feelings as in mindfulness meditation? Should we take on the suffering of the world in Buddhist tradition? Should we fill ourselves with white light and form a protective shell around ourselves? Should we combine sounds with finger touch?
Perhaps the simplest meditation grounds us to the ultimate truth, the awareness that we are alive and that life is a precious gift.
I had first heard of this while taking lessons in Kabbalah from a Rabbi more than twenty years ago in a private home.
Simply breath in and out slowly through the nose with the following awareness: we are breathing beings. As opposed to plants who exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen through pores and "breathe" continuously we literally survive from inspiration to the next inspiration. Although breathing does not require conscious effort, fail to take the next breath…. and we die.
We can visualize God, the Universe, Supreme Intelligence, Brahman etc. as willfully choosing to keep us alive from breath to breath. We allow God to assist us as we fill our lungs on the inspiration and accept our breath on the expiration.
We are immediately struck by the truth that life is both fragile and precious. We are humbled by the awareness our own mortality.
We recognize that what bothers us in life, what worries us, stresses us, confounds us and causes us suffering pales in comparison with the simple gift of being alive.
Instead of tying ourselves up in the profusion of details, multitasking, schedules, aggravations, time constraints, everything we believe we must be and must have, just feel the simplicity and power of a single breath.
We can begin to understand that despite our strenuous efforts to control our destiny and the destinies of those we love, we are ultimately merely breathing beings whose own hold on life is temporary and fragile.
We can let go of our frenetic efforts to make sense of the chaos of life. We can accept what life brings us with a sense of new priorities.
We find serenity in the beauty and simplicity of just being and surrender to what is beyond our ability to control.
Each breath reminds us of the possibility of transformation and change. Each breath represents the opportunity to begin our lives anew. Each breath is a simple but profound gift for which we can only offer our humble gratitude.
The simple awareness of the breath grounds us to the truth of existence.
It is a meditation on humility, acceptance and of gratitude as we surrender to the grand mystery of life itself.