Are You Still Breathing?

There were two occasions during the presentation, when the word breathe appeared on the screen. I had put it there for my own benefit, as a reminder for me to take a moment, breathe, and calm down. I tend to get excited about my work and any reminder to calm myself is always welcome. After the presentation, Karaj offered me his feedback. He suggested I use more of the breathe slides, adding that they should be the focus of my presentation and the focus of my life.

The reason, he explained, was that the breath represents the here and now. Our breathing is the simplest and most powerful tool we have for returning to the present when our mind and emotions are doing all they can to drag us away from a calm, centred reality. In TA terms it is the Adult ego state. I often talk to people about how beneficial it can be, when they find themselves in the middle of an argument or a game, to come from the Adult ego state because it’s the best way to deal with whatever is happening right now. Breathing is the pathway there.

In very simple terms, the Parent ego state represents guidance (rules) and nurturing; the Child ego state expresses our emotions; and the Adult ego state is the here and now. When we are in Adult we gather information about the situation in front of us, we process that information in an appropriate manner and then we act accordingly.

As he said to me: When your mind has rule over you, or your emotions have taken hold; when chaos reigns, or you have simply lost your way, the procedure is simple. Ask yourself one question: Am I still breathing? The answer will be yes, so focus your attention there. Breathe. And then observe. Observe your breathing, observe yourself and observe your situation. In that quiet, attentive way you will find your way back to your centre and be able to act, react and respond more effectively.

Related post: Breathe | Life In The Middle

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