Illustrated by: Christian Colton (@christian_colton)
It’s something we do every day. Seldom do we realize how quickly it can stop. It’s the reason we choose to be athletes or artists. It’s the reason we build, fight, destroy and love. It’s what helps us sing a song or yell at someone. It’s the reason dictators rise to power; and it’s what keeps us from swimming too deep.
Without the gift of breathing, you are virtually handicapped. A dictator cannot rise to power if he doesn’t know how to breathe. No, he can’t even tie his shoe if he doesn’t know how to breathe.
It’s what gives us the ability to choose the pace of life. Breathing can make you as calm as the Dalai Lama, or it could push you to the brink of insanity.
True patience comes from being able to control your breathing. When you meet someone who tries to run circles around you with their words, the only thing you can do is breathe. Each breath is one more moment you give yourself to collect your thoughts.
If you can pace the rate at which you exhale, you can stand still and ease your nerves – allowing yourself to respond out of thought, not impulse. Impulse is breathing’s worst nightmare.
When you program your breath intake, you allow yourself to alter your perspective. Nothing has to be a nightmare. Fear of darkness or small spaces is a byproduct of control, and when you take each breath slower than the last – the mind itself is able to breathe.
When the mind can breathe there can exist fewer dictators, less yelling and minimal destruction. Finding your equilibrium is something we must practice daily, like lifting weights.
No one can breathe for you. It’s something that can’t be cheated and it must be mastered on your own time, it’s an exercise. It’s to be treated with respect and consideration. When you learn to breathe you’ll balance your scale and meet your equilibrium.
Once you’ve learned to breathe, it’s important to use your thoughts productively and positively. Like anything, there are good breathers and there are bad breathers. Bad breathers are the type of people who build themselves up by belittling you. A good breather is someone who sees the whole picture, it’s someone who can set their ego aside for the greater good of humanity.
Look around you, you probably go to school with someone who inhales and exhales too much air. These are the people you need to pass like a grain of sand because there are a thousand like them, and there are a thousand more to come. Don’t let these people overwhelm you.
So, go ahead… take a breath.