My last post was about a practice I’ve recently adopted of taking five mindful breaths at set times five times a day. Since I began this practice, it has created a rhythm of returning to stillness that has gradually shifted my default orientation back into balance and alignment. I find myself not getting so caught up in my mental narrative about whatever is going on, and the attendant emotions that are fed by whatever stories I’m telling myself.
As the practice has deepened, a pattern has emerged through the sequence of the five breaths. I decided to give some form and intention to this pattern, and now each of the five breaths has become a prayer. I thought I would share the pattern with you. It might inspire you to give this pattern a try, or even better to allow your own pattern to emerge. On the other hand, if a pattern is distracting, just stay with the five mindful breaths. It’s a natural process, so let it unfold as it will.
Prayer of Return
The first breath calls my attention to return – return to breath, return to my body, return to center, return to groundedness, return to awareness. It is a call to come home.
Prayer of Alignment
The second breath restores alignment and balance, physically, energetically, spiritually. I check my body’s alignment to open all energy channels, and bring my spiritual vibration back into harmony with universal vibration. That might sound very woowoo, but regardless of what words we use, this alignment is our natural state and happens effortlessly when we get out of our heads and quit trying to force things.
Prayer of Allowing
The third breath is a breath of opening, welcoming whatever arises into the sphere of our awareness and experience, accepting what is without judgment, allowing the world to be as it is and especially ourselves to be as we are.
Prayer of Surrender
The fourth breath is a complete release or yielding of everything we hold onto – our expectations, our judgments, our fears, our pride, our insecurity, our resistance, our beliefs, our certainty. We “empty our cups,” as the saying goes, to enter the vast spaciousness of infinite being.
Prayer of Trust
The fifth breath is one of rest, resting in trust that all is well. Indeed, even more than that, resting in trust that everything is perfect, exquisitely perfect, in ways that we need not, and perhaps cannot, know or understand.
With this practice of taking five breaths at set times five times a day, I never go more than a few hours without bringing my awareness back into this sacred space. Gradually it is expanding beyond the set times, and whenever I catch myself spinning off into illusion, a breath or two will bring me back.
If you try this practice of taking five breaths five times a day, you might find your own pattern emerging. I would love to hear about your own experience with this practice, or any other practice that helps you or supports you through challenging times.
When every breath is a prayer, we pray without ceasing. We are ever in communion with the divine, forever carried in the embrace of the beloved.