Just for one minute – even half a minute - stop if you will and notice your breath.
One breath in. One breath out.
Now if you want to, just get on with your life again and let that boring old breathing thing carry on happening just like it always has in the past. Every moment, every day, from the minute you were born.
...Or perhaps you can spare just a little longer to notice a few more features of your breath. Maybe sit down, just for a moment, I won’t keep you long.
Breathe in again and notice when you breathe a little more deeply, a little more carefully, how your chest and abdomen rise. And, as you breathe that deeper breath out, there’s a real feeling of release – and it is release- as you exhale stale air, moisture and toxins that your body no longer needs. Imagine your out-breath as a welcome release of tension.
And then you after you have breathed out, you breathe in again, straight away – or do you? Notice now, if you can, that you don’t begin a new breath straight away, there is a tiny pause. See if you can notice it.... right at the end of the out breath... just before you begin the next in-breath, everything stops. Still.
Just for a fleeting second your breath is still.
As you breathe, see if you can really get in touch with that feeling of stillness between your out- breath and your in-breath. Maybe even try to make that little pause a bit longer.
Noticing this tiny pause, this gap, brings you right into the present moment, at the same time offering a little space of calm right in the centre of your busy life – wherever you are, whatever you are doing.
Meditation and mindfulness can take hundreds of forms and have spawned millions of words. For some people these practices have been life changing in every way. But if it all seems too much right now, just remember that meditation started as a deliberate custom and practice with this little space between our breaths.
Over 4000 years ago ancient people noticed (and recorded) that by sitting and deliberately focusing on this little gap between their breaths they could bring their mind and body to a wonderful state of calm. It requires no gimmicks, gizmos or hours of tuition, just a minute or two to notice your breath, find that space and enjoy your own private peace whenever you need to.