Monday, October 8, 2012

eyes wide open: breathing lessons {day 8}

"One of the greatest of spiritual attainments is the capacity to do nothing."
~Dallas Willard

For most of my life, I have been breathing wrong.

In a class I'm taking at church, the leader is spending some time talking to us about slowing down. Taking time to be alone with Jesus. Just sitting. And breathing. Breathe in, breathe out. Not shallow breaths, but breaths that come from the belly. I have a history of not doing this well. I have a history of breathing shallow breaths. Not using my lungs' full capacity. Deep belly breathing is the healthiest way to breathe and relieves anxiety and counteracts the stress response. I so desperately need this.

I thought I would share our daily homework.

  • Find a special quiet place in your home where you can meet with God (bring a notebook to jot down things that your mind won't let go of--like feeding the cat, folding a load of laundry, etc.--so your mind can be still)

  • Silence and Solitude--15 minutes a day

During silence and solitude we are to spend:
  1. Five minutes of palms down meditation (with palms down on your lap, the idea is to lay everything at Jesus' feet. Empty yourself of all cares and concerns.)
  2. Five minutes of silence. (don't do anything)
  3. Five minutes of palms up meditation, receiving the Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,  goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

I've been in the class for about 4 weeks. I have done this whole sequence only two days. I am used to spending time in solitude with God. But, this structured way of quieting my mind and breath is a new one for me. I did it this morning. I'm finding that it takes discipline to quiet my mind.

I need this. My body and mind need this. I'm going to keep practicing. I'm going to learn to breathe right. Even if it is hard.  


  1. I practice Holy Yoga and this is one of the foundations of it-- the breath. The Holy Spirit is in the breath. Inhale deeply!

  2. Audrey. I would love to do Holy Yoga. I live near Des Moines, Iowa and I looked online for it here. Didn't see one. I will keep breathing and hope to try Holy Yoga some day! Thanks for your encouragement!


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