Breathing Together, In Silence

breathe rockSunday was the monthly gathering of my sangha (“spiritual friends”) from the Meditation Teacher Training Institute. This diverse group of wonderful people has been meeting for more than two years to practice together, learn from, and teach one another. A key element, and the way we begin each meeting, is our shared meditation time. Just sitting in silence in one another’s presence, breathing in and out, cultivating awareness and compassion as we watch our lives unfold, moment by moment. It is always one of the highlights of my month.

So what happens during this half hour of silence? Any number of things can arise. It’s always a surprise, never dull. A parade of thoughts and memories may visit, marching and dancing to a rhythm of their own. The body may remind us of every little ache, twitch and tight spot. Feelings may well up, emotions bubbling to the surface. Tiny itches demand to be scratched. And throughout it all, we just sit, as best we can, noticing all the comings and goings, like clouds passing through a vast sky.

It is easy to grasp at the belief that practicing meditation will provide ALL the answers to our stress. Yes, by practicing over time, it can yield many benefits. Yet, we never know what will arise in ANY sitting, as each sit simply reveals the complexity of our lives as they are, right now, in this moment. By bringing an open awareness, curious attention and non-judgmental intention, we can witness some of the ten thousand joys and ten thousand sorrows that make up our lives. We experience directly how everything is in a constant state of change and flux. With practice we can bring greater equanimity to this passing parade of thoughts, feelings, memories, plans, worries and joys. This helps us live more fully, and remain balanced in the face of life’s challenges.

Thich Nhat Hanh wrote,

“To meditate with mindful breathing is to bring body and mind back to the present moment so that you do not miss your appointment with life.”

This Saturday, we’ll be learning and practicing together in CommunitySHINE, breathing in and out. Please join us to explore how this practice can bring more balance and ease to your life. You’re invited – don’t miss your appointment!

To what one breath can do,

amy connolly







Amy Bloom Connolly

Don’t forget to join us for this month’s CommunitySHINE Nurturing Ourselves Through Mindfulness public workshop on Breath Awareness (Saturday, March 29th, from 9am-12pm).

Click here for details and to register.

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