Chaos seems to be everywhere today. Humanity is very adept at creating disorder. It gets itself into a fine mess and then makes the mess worse. The most powerful nation on Earth elected to the most powerful position on Earth a man whose mission is, apparently, to create chaos. British prime ministers are far from exempt, as recent events show. From everywhere, reports of human tragedy, much caused by other people, continually reach our eyes and ears.
News of chaos creates inner disturbance
Reading about disturbing events, or watching or listening to reports about them, can very easily upset our equilibrium. Unless we have a very thick skin, we cannot completely isolate ourselves from what is going on in the world. Compassion for the suffering others are enduring is natural and right. But chaos can stir up all manner of other feelings, too. We may feel horror, indignation, anger and disgust. Without denying those feelings, we must find a way to restore our inner stability.
Breathe in calmness and let go of chaos
Breathing is one of the simplest remedies. When we are agitated, the breath tends to become shallow and a little faster. Tension in the abdominal muscles prevents deeper inhalation and so the chest does most of the work. This makes us feel ill at ease. Our qi or energy dissipates as the stress response works through the body. Chaos is inside as well as out. (See the previous post for discussion on inside and outside.)
Fortunately, we can reverse this. By training ourselves to breathe more slowly and a little more deeply, we can initiate a calming response.
A simple technique
Here is a simple technique. There are others but this is delightfully easy and works quickly.
- Place one hand flat on your abdomen at the navel then move it down about an inch (a couple of centimetres) and rest the other hand on top – palm to back of hand.
- Breathe gently, feeling the rise and fall through your hands. If your abdomen pushes against your hands as you inhale, this is good – it means your diaphragm is helping to draw air into the bottom of the lungs.
- As you inhale, imagine drawing in calmness from your surroundings. As you exhale, let go of chaos. Imagine it being absorbed into the earth.
If we practise this for a minute or two, and maybe two or three times a day, we will soon notice that the way we breathe affects how we feel. Events in the big wide world may still continue but inside chaos will quickly subside.
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