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Focus on Every Breath You Take

No matter what you do, never lose awareness of your breath. It will keep you connected with Divine Consciousness and give you joy ever moment, says Yogacharya Surakshit Goswami

Have you ever observed an artist when he is creating a painting? His breath does not move like ours. Watch a Dhrupad singer performing an alaap.

You will notice how his breath is synchronized with the music notes. A sprinter runs, and his breath is in sync with his movement. The breath of a farmer toiling in the fields is connected to ploughing.

Everyone's breath has its own rhythm. Everyone's breath is attuned to their actions. And what happens if this rhythm is disrupted? The artist's colours will splatter, the musician's tune will falter, the runner's pace will waver, and the farmer will get tired and sit in the field.

You inhale and then exhale. Inhale and exhale again. Focussing on the breath, sensing it come and go -- that is dhyan. But should this awareness only come at some designated time? Many people do just that. Afterward, they become engrossed in their daily tasks, entangled in all sorts of desires and aversions, forgetting the rhythm of their breath. And what is the result? Work starts to suffer. But if, while engaged in work, we keep ourselves connected to the rhythm of our breath, then the awareness continues. Our mind does not wander because this practice takes us to dhyan. Even while doing everything, relating to the world, the practitioner remains in a state of meditation.

Meditation is a unique method that connects us with our inner world, where everything becomes crystal clear. When Parvati asked Shiv about the way to attain him, Shiv described 112 methods of meditation. The first method is to experience the incoming and outgoing breath. This is the simplest form of meditation. Whatever the task may be, connecting it with the breath in this way makes us proficient in everything. This makes every action spiritual. Behaviour and meditation are no longer separate; they become one.

Nanak says, ‘Swasa di mala naal simraan mein tera naam’, which in essence means, ‘I remember your Name along with each incoming and outgoing breath’.

Similarly, another saint says, ‘Ghari jo bisroon Ram ko, sou Brahmn hatya mohey hoye’, by which he means that, ‘the moment I forget Ram, the Divine, I am committing a grievous crime, because I am diminishing my divine, infinite stature. We are, after all, souls, part of the Infinite, the Brahmn, the Divine. We connect with the Brahmn through our breath. By not paying attention to our breath, we get disconnected from the Brahmn, and also our Brahmn Bhav, our Divine Essence, our vastness. This is like doing Brahmn hatya, killing of the Brahmn.

Krishn says in the Bhagwad Gita, "While getting up, sitting down, eating, drinking, and opening and closing your eyes, remember only Me, and you will attain Me." The Buddha tells his followers, "If you do every task in life dhyan poorvak, with full attention and dhyan, then no task can bind you." On similar lines, Mahavir says, "Focus and be attentive, because work done carelessly, without paying attention alone is a sin." Work that is not done mindfully, bind us. Kabir Das would weave cloth all day long, but with each warp and weft, he chanted the name of Ram. There was never a moment when he was not connected with the Divine Name. Similarly, Sant Ravi Dass, a cobbler, would stitch shoes through the day, but was always immersed in Ram bhakti.

If, while doing all our daily chores, we keep our minds focused on our breath, we stay connected with the Brahmn. Life then is filled with joy, and we experience a sense of liberation in the present moment.

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