How you feel is a choice. If you can see how feelings are just like thoughts you can see how you choose them moment by moment. You can then begin to choose different thoughts and feelings. This can lead to big changes after a period of practice. The first step is in observing your thoughts, getting in the habit of stepping back and watching yourself. This takes time to cultivate and isn’t the focus of this article.

If you have trouble with your feelings getting the best of you, take a cue from my cat Georgette. She is now 17 years old and she is rocking being present and being in her bliss. She is happy right were she is.

If you feel like you have lost your bliss let me know what’s not working, maybe our mechanic can help fix what ails you during this pandemic.

I have found that many people are confronting hard emotional material during this idle period. We are so used to going all the time. May I suggest that you use this time to quietly reflect. Learning how to silence the mind could happen at this time. Learning how you can use breath to assist you in shifting how you feel is of great benefit. You wont be changing the world until you change yourself….

Breath work is a singular technique incredibly useful in changing how you feel. It shuts down your busy mind and helps bring you to silence, calm, and if you are able to slow down enough, enter into something called Presence.

You want a breath that is deliberate, slow, with pauses at the top and bottom of each breath. The rate of your breathing should be about three seconds in, holding your breath for about two seconds, with an exhale at that same rate, with a one to two second pause at the end of the exhale. You can play around with this rate to find a rate that makes you feel most relaxed.

You will want to do this type of breathing for about 3-5 minutes at first, just enough to see how it is done and you begin seeing results.

If you don’t see any results at all, I reccomend placing all of your attention on your breathing and nothing else. Listen to your breathing. Take your mind off of whatever is normally occupying it. You may also need to do something that will relax you beforehand, like sleep or taking a warm bath or shower. You want to shift your mind away from the busy mind that you have become so accustomed to having. This will take some practice. It will take time. Once or twice is not enough. Trying this at the same time of the day can be helpful in establishing a habitual trigger that helps you to relax and quiet down.

Another version of this type of breathing is alternating nostril breathing. It is done the same way as our earlier breath except you close one nostril at a time to breath in and breathe out through one nostril only before alternating to the other nostril. I have done four breaths in one nostril before doing four in the other, as well as simply one breath per nostril. The point is in keeping the number of breaths balanced between each nostril.

You can also use imagery with your breathing. I often feel a shot of energy all through my body when I breathe like this, so I will think about my breathing and how it will stimulate my root chakra, sending a shot of energy through all of my other energy centers.

I might think about the energy ending up in a center I am thinking about only to find that the energy goes there, dutifully following thought. I then feel how that energy feels moving through my body, and I can learn a lot about the state of my own energy body, for instance by how the energy feels as it moves like this.

If a part of me feels tight or tense, I imagine directing breath to that location. It might take some practice, but it is feeling the energy generated through breath being sent to that location that does it for me The more vividly you can imagine it, the better it will work. Prana will go where thought goes.

If you slow down, focus on listening to your breath, and breathing nice and slow, you can find breathing rates that can bring calm and even bliss (if you keep going deeper). The clue that it is working is you will feel like you are out of your mind or body a little. You might feel weak-kneed and you might have a hard time focusing or remembering what you were thinking. This is the very state that you want. This is the threshold of the zen state, the practice called zazen, a cultivation of quiet single-mindedness. It helps bring peace. Be patient and feel free to ask questions.

I hope that this finds you well and my hope is that you will use this to help take the edge off of how you feel. Let me know how it goes.

~Parker