Running, Breathing, Compassion
Writing about recent events in Boston seems confounding. What more can I say to provide solace? The following morning, I meditated for all of those involved, even those that could commit a crime of such proportions against innocent people training for the race of a lifetime. I tried to open my heart to compassion and understanding of the human condition for everyone involved. And it came back to the breathing. And it came back to my dear, dear friend, Amheric. His alter ego, A-Man, has run races in New York, Portland, New Orleans, Miami, San Francisco and Charlotte, among many, many others. We ran in the Chicago Marathon together. I was in the last corral and he was a ways up. We were together when he bought this USA shirt at the Chicago Marathon expo. Yesterday, he ran in it for his fellow runners in Boston the morning after. He cried for them. He breathed for them. I try to do the same.
If you want help breathing, literally through any tragedy, I urge you to look to Thich Nhat Hanh. Here is what he writes:
Our breathing is a stable solid ground that we can take refuge in. Regardless of our internal weather- our thoughts, emotions and perceptions- our breathing is always with us like a faithful friend. Whenever we feel carried away, or sunken in a deep emotion, or scattered in worries and projects, we return to our breathing to collect and anchor our mind.
We feel the flow of air coming in and going out of our nose. We feel how light and natural, how calm and peaceful our breathing functions. At any time, while we are walking, gardening, or typing, we can return to this peaceful source of life.
We may like to recite:
“Breathing in I know that I am breathing in.
Breathing out I know that I am breathing out.”
We do not need to control our breath. Feel the breath as it actually is. It may be long or short, deep or shallow. With our awareness it will naturally become slower and deeper. Conscious breathing is the key to uniting body and mind and bringing the energy of mindfulness into each moment of our life.
To learn more about the work of Thich Nhat Hanh, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr. Please visit: