Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Taking a Deep Breath


There are different occasions and context where you want to or are asked to take a deep breath. Whether it is at a doctor’s office or a settling into meditation in your bedroom, it feels like I’m failing at it. Somehow my breathing gets shallower than just before I was asked to breathe deeper. The experience leaves me feeling dissatisfied, incomplete, and unprepared.

In learning how to concentrate on my breathe, I realized the importance of breathing out fully. I think of it as respecting an action by ending well, as if to take a bow after a performance: you have to bow low, and mean it. Of course, when you breathe out fully, the next breath you take is simply a relaxation of the diaphragm expanding on its own, restoring the natural equilibrium that exists in nature.

When I am told to take a deep breath, the first thing I do is to do the opposite: I breathe out as much as I can.

I wonder how many things we tell ourselves or get told to do in life undermines our performance by focusing too much on that result right away and not realizing the complementary actions associated with them. I wonder how many directions (internal or external), I can process ahead to realize that I should focus more on the complementary actions to get the desired results I want.

I haven’t figured it out, but a good rule of thumb I am going to stick to for now, for deep breathing or otherwise, is “I give it my all first, and then I’m ready to take it all in”.

Photo: Norton Museum, Los Angeles, California


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This entry was posted on December 5, 2015 by in Buddhism, mindfulness and tagged , , , .
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