We perceive a tree as being still. Yet, when a gust of wind sends its branches swaying in all directions, its movement is unmistakable, while the tree remains rooted and still. As we look upon the silence of a lake we feel the stillness, yet life forms such as fish and weeds emerge to the surface creating movement. The lake emanates stillness and also moves readily with life and change. Movement cannot exist without stillness. The innate expression of life is through stillness and in that stillness, life moves.
Have you ever noticed the pause that occurs between your inhalation and exhalation? This pause is stillness. Breath moves rhythmically in distinct patterns around this stillness. If you observe intently, you’ll notice your breath is like the wind around the tree of your being. It may vary, and shift its pattern depending on the forces external to you or the integrity and structure of your current state of being, but your innate quality of being, is still.
The exhalation creates an outward movement while the inhalation creates an inward movement. Stillness embodies a pattern of giving and receiving. It is an outward and inward expression. As you draw air and oxygen inward it feeds and fuels your life. As you exhale you release carbon dioxide outward, which fuels and sustains the plants and life around you. One cannot sustain without the other.
We often forget what we are giving and receiving and how essential and symbiotic our simple pattern of breathing is. The pattern has become so innate within us that we literally forget what the breath represents – what it offers outward and what it draws in.
It is common to lose consciousness of this movement as it revolves around stillness. The pause between our breath is ever present. Whatever moves around (including the rhythm of our breath) is ever-changing. Stillness brings continuity to the movement and thus an inescapable connection to life within and around us. One is never isolated if one is breathing. One is never disconnected — no matter the shifts in rhythm — so long as one is breathing. Where there is movement, there is stillness. And, stillness is where peace resides.
So inhale, hold your breath, and remember what is innately yours. Direct your attention to the complete silence that is always present. Know that stillness flows perpetually. And know that you can choose to move rhythmically from that place — at any moment.
Daily Reflections
Ask yourself. . .
How can I take more time to acknowledge my connection to breath and to life?
Do I notice the stillness of being beneath my breath?
What draws me away from my connection to stillness?