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5 Minutes A Day

While we lay in bed at night, waiting to fall asleep, we could easily spend what could be the best 5 minutes of the day.

I wrote the following breathing exercise to help sleep uninterrupted from bad dreams, stress, anxiety or tension.
Try this!

Lay on your back with one or both hands over your heart. I feel my heartbeat to help myself connect with the functions of the body that we tend to ignore during the day.

Your breath should be light, even and calm; follow your breath in and out. From the passage, Try the following:

Breathe in:      while reciting the sentence that follows                                
Breathe out:    while reciting the sentence that follows.

Try any combination of paragraphs or sentences you like, repeating however you like. I have memorized a 5 minute combination that works for me; which I repeat until I fall asleep! :)


Breathe in:      I follow my breath in.
Breathe out:    I follow my breath out.

Breathe in:      I follow my breath.
Breathe out:    To bridge the body and mind.

Breathe in:      I follow my breath in.
Breathe out:    I follow my breath out.

Breathe in:      I accept all I am.
Breathe out:    I smile to all I am.

Breathe in:      I follow my breath in.
Breathe out:    I follow my breath out.

Breathe in:      All my afflictions,
Breathe out:    gently laid to rest.

Breathe in:      I follow my breath in.
Breathe out:    I follow my breath out.



Breathe in:      I am aware I am breathing in.
Breathe out:    I am aware I am breathing out.

Breathe in:      I am aware in the present moment,
Breathe out:    what a wonderful moment.

Breathe in:      I am aware I am breathing in.
Breathe out:    I am aware I am breathing out.

Breathe in:      Living in the now,
Breathe out:    I smile in the now.

Breathe in:      I am aware I am breathing in.
Breathe out:    I am aware I am breathing out.

Breathe in:      Thoughts of past and future,
Breathe out:    gently laid to rest.


Breathe in:      Serenity grows strong;
Breathe out:    the peaceful mind rests.

Breathe in:      Like an open shore,
Breathe out:    accepting the evening tide.

Breathe in:      Serenity grows strong;
Breathe out:    the peaceful mind rests.

Breathe in:      Like the timeless wind,
Breathe out:    slowly shaping stone.

Breathe in:      Serenity grows strong;
Breathe out:    the peaceful mind rests.

Breathe in:      Like silently still waters,
Breathe out:    reflecting all things clearly.

Breathe in:      Serenity grows strong;
Breathe out:    the peaceful mind rests.


Conscious breathing takes place when we consciously follow the breath. Through conscious breathing we practice accepting the interrelationship of the body and mind.

This practice can grow into accepting the interrelationship between our entire being and the world in which we live.

We can learn to accept emotional afflictions as a part of our entire being as we learn to accept the physical body as an equal part of “who we are”.

We tend to see our mind or “mental consciousness” as “who we are” and our physical body as belonging to “who we are”. We see the two as divided, one owning the other, like a rider on a horse.

Sometimes this self-made division between body and mind can inhibit our ability to properly deal with unwanted emotions such as stress or anxiety. These afflictions can be felt as emotional/muscular tension. This is the tension that often interferes with our ability to truly rest during sleep.

The phenomenon of muscular tension occurs when we consciously choose to suppress unwanted emotions. The emotions we choose to forget or ignore are transferred to the subconscious where the suppression takes the form of muscular tension used to stop the physical actualization of the emotion; such as tension around the eyes if we suppress the need to cry.

Absent of mental consciousness, the subconscious often continuously activates this muscular activity; suppressing and hiding emotions within knots of muscle. Without awareness and acceptance of our entire being this tension plagues us night after night.

During our nightly conscious breathing exercises we use the breath to bridge the conscious, subconscious and physical body to help reverse this phenomenon.

Breathe in:      I accept all I am.
Breathe out:    I smile to all I am.

Breathe in:      All my afflictions,
Breathe out:    gently laid to rest.

Through conscious breathing, acceptance, and full awareness of our entire being we can find true relief from these afflictions.

Full awareness in the present moment can also allow for relief from our afflictions.

Stress is worry over the past and anxiety is worry about the future. We can reduce these afflictions through ‘living in the now”.

Breathe in:      Thoughts of past and future,
Breathe out:    gently laid to rest.

Can you name one problem you have right now that is not connected to the past or future?

Of course the problems we have created for ourselves do not disappear, and of course we will encounter new problems in the future.

However, when we consciously decide to redirect the energy spent on worries over yesterday and tomorrow toward the direction of changing our behavior today, we can allow for the changes in our lives we so desperately seek.

True courage is required to focus our energy and awareness on our own behavior. Blaming the past and or refusing responsibility for our futures are behaviors we can change.

Understanding the difference between what we can change and what we must accept requires wisdom and clarity. Often to see things with wisdom and clarity we must be still. We may need to remove ourselves from the flow of things.

Breathe in:      Like silently still waters,
Breathe out:    reflecting all things clearly.

Serenity grows strong and the peaceful mind rests. :)

The Serenity paragraph of the breathing exercise is an adaption of the Serenity prayer.

The first sentence refers to accepting the things we cannot change and should create visions of a peaceful scene while inducing sleepiness.

Openness and acceptance are infused with thoughts of an evening’s rest, cool ocean breeze and rhythmic sounds of the incoming tide.

Breathe in:      Like an open shore,
Breathe out:    accepting the evening tide.

The second sentence refers to the part of the Serenity prayer that deals with asking God to give us the courage to change the things we can change. I also reference this with “True courage is required to focus our energy and awareness on our own behavior”.
For the breathing exercise, I couldn’t resist substituting the word changing for shaping; “slowly shaping stone”. Using the letter S in triplicate was too irresistible! 


I use the words timeless and slowly to refer to what I have learned about meditation in the way of not adding unnecessary pressure by expecting instantaneous feelings of peace and serenity.

Many people quit practicing meditation because of the intrusive, adverse thoughts that arise as we clear our minds.

Accept these thoughts as a part of your entire being. Acknowledge their presence through continued meditation by reciting the following:

Breathe in:      I am aware of intrusive thoughts.                                       
Breathe out:    I smile to intrusive thoughts.

This in itself is successful meditation and awareness! :)

Allow these things to come to you over time, and they will be beautiful and original, like shapes and forms found in nature through timelessness, water and wind.

Breathe in:      Like the timeless wind,
Breathe out:    slowly shaping stone.

Lastly, reflecting all things clearly refers to Wisdom and the end of the serenity prayer that ask God for the wisdom to see the difference in the things we can and cannot change.

Breathe in:      Like silently still waters,
Breathe out:    reflecting all things clearly.

I try to reflect Thich Nhat Hanh clearly as I heavily paraphrase his writing.

I literally felt butterflies in the pit of my stomach while finishing this experience to share.

Let me know how it goes for you!

Thanks for reading! :)
 
gsparky22 gsparky22 41-45, M 1 Response Nov 29, 2012

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Thank you for all of this. It is inspiring.