The End is Merely a Pause Before the Next Beginning
Back in the 80s, one of the practices that I had to learn to do, when I was working towards mental health and wellness, was to learn to breathe appropriately. Having grown up with severe allergies, I did not know how to breathe out of my nose, but rather, only out of my mouth. Along with that, I did not breathe deeply, but rather very shallow into my chest.
After I went through some major emotional work and healing, I knew part of my journey had to be learning how to breathe. I was anxious, not present, and unable to still myself, both within my mind and body. And so I set out on the journey of learning to be mindful, breathe and sit quietly. It wasn’t easy. I was a very loud breather. So when I went o any formal meditation groups, I was definitely noticed. In fact, one day, when I was doing a “day-long” sesshin, which is a period of intensive meditation in a Zen monastery, a monk that was a guest at the facility we were practicing, called me to her “quarters” to check on me. Apparently, my noisy breathing was a concern to her. But I persevered because I need to persevere. It was hard to still my mind. It was hard to be calm and content. I had to do the work to be in the here and now and be able to tolerate it all. It took years of practicing breathing – to be able to breathe appropriately. It took years of practicing stilling the mind to be able to sit quietly with myself. It took years of practicing to be in the here and now.
One of the things I became fascinated about during the time of practice, was the moment and the place between the in-breath and the out-breath. It is that moment when the breath is still as you switch from in-breath to the out-breath. It is in that place, where you might the breath for a brief moment. It always seems like the twilight between the place of physical and the place of spiritual. I am not sure. But it is a place I like to go do. I know it is a special place. And so I would focus on that place. And I would loop through the cycle of the breath – breathing in – and breathing out – and lingering in the “still quiet place” where there is stillness between the breaths and between the planes. (Saltzman, 2014). Breathing in, breathing out, I would find a calm in that moment of stillness of neither in nor out with the breath. I would linger here, contemplating that moment of stillness.
And it is here, in that place of neither in nor out, that we can realize that at the end of a cycle there is really no ending at all, because it is merely a moment and we can begin again with the in breath. And we begin again where the ending left off with next cycle.Tags: pause betweeen breaths, still quiet place
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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