Sometime in your life you will go on a journey.
It will be the longest journey you have ever taken.
It is the journey to find yourself.
I’ve been blessed with a lot of travel in my life. During one travel-intensive period, training therapists internationally for the American Board of Hypnotherapy I think my frequent flyer account topped one million miles. I used to joke that my “morning commute” was from LAX to Tokyo. I’d often go on from there to Singapore, or Thailand or Hong Kong — endless hours in flights, which over time, took their toll to the point that traveling lost its shine, especially post 9/11.
Yet the longest journey I’ve ever made has been from my head to my heart. This one has taken a lifetime.
From an early age I was fascinated by eastern philosophies and tried practicing meditation — tried being the key word; With a mind that seemingly would never shut up for an instant, it has always been a challenge for me to sustain a consistent meditative practice.
Westerners generally find it challenging to stick to meditation. We tend to be much more head-centered than heart. I described myself once as being a “talking head” because until my early 40’s I barely conceived of having a body to go along with my ever-pondering mind!
As I have made more of a connection between mind and body, especially in these last 5 years of committing to a Raw Fusion lifestye, I have come to appreciate how important it is to get out of my head and learn to spend some time in the timeless heart center, ground zero for joy, inspiration and healing. Singer KT Tunstall ( Black Horse and the Cherry Tree) says it best: Well, my heart knows me better than I know myself, so I’m gonna let it do all the talking.
How do I get there?
After years of “trying” to get a regular meditation routine going, I instead started a one-a-day practice of focused breathing that takes only minutes to do. I called it 20 Breaths, figuring that I could at least consistently commit to this daily discipline. After months of making this custom second-nature, the “Head to Heart Pathway” evolved. Those few moments of being centered in my heart, free — even if only a millisecond — from extraneous thoughts, felt so good that I have since progressed to meditating at least 20 minutes a day, every day. It’s been a long journey to get to this point, but what a difference it has made in every arena of my life.
Would love to share this easy-to-implement breathing technique with YOU! In my book Your Mind: The Owner’s Manual I reference Dr. Andrew Weil, a well respected expert in mind/body medicine. He asserts that the single one thing we can do to dramatically improve our health and well-being is to improve our breathing. Breath is the link between the mind and the body and also provides the means to connect with our “vital, non-physical essence.” The act of deep breathing oxygenates your brain and sets the tone for a much calmer perspective, no matter what may be going on externally.
The 20 Breaths Technique
The first 5 breaths should be: IN THROUGH THE NOSE – OUT THROUGH THE MOUTH.
As you breathe in, imagine that you are taking in very positive, light-filled, healing energy.
As you breathe out, let go of any tensions, fears, worries or negative thoughts. Imagine that you are releasing them through the soles of your feet.
Mentally count each breath on the exhale. At 6 you continue BREATHING EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH THE NOSE, IN AND OUT.
When you reach 10, the count for the next 10 should be in descending order 10, 9, 8, 7 and so forth down to 1.
Your mind will be busy and active; thoughts will continue, as well as the impulse to be doing something, ANYTHING but sitting there breathing. Acknowledge those thoughts but let them go.
Focus on the breathing, the sensation of the air coming in through the nose and going out through the nose.
Are we there yet?
Now here is the most important part – the journey from your head space to your heart center, the place where Spirit resides. As the Sanskrit greeting Namaste implies – “I bow to the indwelling Spirit in You” – this is the source of your connection with the Divine, however it may be symbolized — Holy Spirit, Divine Spark, Inner Presence, God Within or Universal Spirit.
Bring your attention to the center of your chest. Consciously move yourself from head to heart, choosing a means of transport that feels safe and comfortable: Take an elevator down, walk a winding stairway, move gently downwards through a pneumatic tube or take a magic carpet ride. Feel as if you are centering yourself in that area and when your count is completed, take a few moments to appreciate the sensation.
Mentally set your intentions for your day. Consider what you want to accomplish in a detached way, knowing that you have fortified yourself with a powerful dose of intentional breathing.
When you feel complete, open your eyes.
This entire technique can be accomplished in 5-7 minutes. Somehow, somewhere in your day you can find 5-7 minutes to devote to your personal well-being. On extremely intense days, even doing the first 5 breaths will make a huge impact on your mind, body and spirit. Make YOU a priority and your world will expand in wonderful ways.
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