I like the writings of Thích Nhất Hạnh as they are relevant, relatable, and easily understood. You thought I was going to recommend another lecture series, didn’t you?! In his book, The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation, Thích Nhất Hạnh introduces the practice of meditation, with a focus on breathing. All of us breathe. Therefore, all of us can benefit from considering our breaths. How many times have you seen a decorative wall hanging that states, “just breathe”? The age-old remedy for hyperventilation is to breathe into a paper bag. Young children are told to pretend to blow out birthday candles to calm down, and adults to take a few deep breaths. Although aware of the importance of breathing, not just for physical survival, but for emotional survival as well, we often lose sight of the power of simply breathing. In addition to its focus on breathing, as described by the publisher, “In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thích Nhất Hạnh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercises as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness – being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.”
We’ve already reviewed breathing techniques, as well as other forms of relaxation, in preparation for this. We’ll be focusing on mindfulness, and on breathing, for the next several weeks.