Breath and Presence
    Tenzin Gyatso is the 14th person to hold the title Dalai Lama. His reign began on November 17th, 1950, 65 years ago this coming week. The world has changed profoundly during his lifetime. Political upheaval sent him into exile in 1959, and the state of global communication we currently enjoy has made him well known and recognized here in the west.
We live with access to the thoughts and writings of innumerable people we will never meet or hear in person: some of them become 'celebrities”
     The Dalai Lama brings wisdom into popular culture which attracts attention from a population far broader than Tibetan Buddhists. His Holiness speaks with simplicity without being simplistic. He reminds us that many of the complications of our lives are not inevitable: alternatives can be chosen.
     One of his sayings, known throughout the world, is that “If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”
     I thought about that this week during an online meeting.
    A group of harried attendees had arrived together from various jobs and responsibilities and activities. Everyone had heeded the deadline, and shaped their life in order to be present. I didn't hear anyone actually panting, yet the energy of the group suggested just that – that a rush had brought us to this place together.
     The first order of business was a breathing exercise, which allowed each of us to find quiet, and be centred within our own private rhythm. After very few minutes we were all relaxed, feeling calm and peaceful and grounded. We were much more focussed and able to engage with the necessary work.
     I have no doubt that our productivity was improved because of that small time spent in a structured breathing exercise.
     We are always breathing. Any meeting: by telephone or online or in person, is among people who are breathing, yet rarely do we put attention on our breath.
     Breath is the manifestation of the Life Force, the Chi. Breath delineates living from not living. When we stop breathing, we stop being present in our bodies.
     Imagine how the world would be different if all our important encounters began with half a minute of quietly being with our breath.
     This is not about changing how we breathe, or adjusting it to someone else's tempo. This is simply a few seconds of being present with Self, and aware of the life that animates us.
     I think that if every eight year old in the world were taught to be conscious of their breathing, we could eliminate the myth of separation within one generation.
     In the meantime, we have lots of catch-up for people who missed the lesson when they were eight. My first step towards solving that reality is a free sample of my “Breathing for Adult Beginners” workshop on Google Hangouts, November 17th at noon Pacific; 3 pm. Eastern and 8 p.m. UK
Get the link by entering your information here, and I hope I see you there!
     Jo Leath has been supporting clients through change and growth since the 1980s.
     For a consultation or other session, in person or by Skype click here