Wisdom in Living

<b>Wisdom in Living</b>
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Monday, June 4, 2018

The Chinese Breath and the Thinking Mind


The Chinese breath is the longevity breath. For thousands of years, Chinese medicine has expressed the importance of breathing; Chinese exercise, such as Tai Chi, also focus on the benefits of breathing right,

Why is breathing so important? It is because without breath, we die in minutes. Sadly, many of us are unaware of this because breathing is so natural, so spontaneous that we simply take it for granted.

Breath is the gift of life. Once we become aware of our breath, we will become aware of many other things in life, such as our heath, our diet, our thinking, we will begin to make changes in our lives, such as giving up smoking and drinking. But to make lifestyle changes is easier said than done because we are living in a toxic environment that contaminates the body and the mind. Every day we are bombarded with hypes by the multi-media and modern technology; they become toxic thoughts in our minds. We become controlled by them, such that our thinking minds have become dysfunctional. Unfortunately, what we think become our realities, just as the French philosopher Descartes’ famous statement: “I think; therefore, I am.” The thinking mind is important because it controls not only how we think, but also how we make our everyday decisions that have a long-term impact on our health, and hence our longevity.

But how is breath related to the thinking mind?

First of all, correct breathing is critical to our health. Babies breathe naturally. But as we grow up and older, our breaths change for the worse, and not for the better. Correct breathing affects your posture, which also affects your physique, including your physical health. Correct breathing means you breathe in sufficient oxygen and breathe out as much as possible all the toxic fumes and carbon dioxide from your body. Breathing is a natural rejuvenation and detoxification process. Unfortunately, most of us have incomplete or compromised breathing, leading to shortness of breath and accumulation of toxins inside the body. To have correct breathing (which means the breathing out should be longer than the breathing in) and complete breath (which means we use our diaphragm—the muscle between the lungs and the tummy—to push air and fill up the upper lungs), we must be aware of our breath—the longevity breath.

Awareness of breath also implies quieting the mind. A quiet mind—when you are totally aware of how your breathe in and breathe out, how the air goes in and out of your nostrils, how your diaphragm muscles move up and down—momentarily stops your compulsive mind from thinking. In other words, a quiet mind trains your thoughts– according to St. Theresa of Avila, the mind is like an unbridled horse wandering where it wlll, and your role is to train your horse, and gently bring it back to the right course. Awareness of breath does just that: letting your mind separate the truths from the half-truths or the myths.

Be aware of your breath and you will live not only longer but also healthier and wiser.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018  by Stephen Lau

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