Meditation: Breathing and Control

Breathing and control, two things that seem to be very different, but can have a strong relationship, if you understand them.  Breathing is something you have to do, to stay alive.  Control is something that you strive for, in managing your life.  Well meaning friends and relatives,  will often say get control of your life, when things may not be going well for you personally, or professionally.  This could mean trying to control an unwanted behavior, or making a decision concerning your career, to time manage your life better.  Trying to set aside more time for your personal life, and not letting a job or business run you.  Is control something we should strive for? Is it even possible?  Before we answer those questions, let’s look at breathing to see how unique it is, and how it applies to getting control of our lives.

Breathing is a function of the lungs, where we take in the oxygen from the environment, and expel carbon dioxide into the environment.  We breathe without thinking about it. We can control our breathing to some degree.  We can hold our breath for a certain amount of time. Some people are better at this than others, but most of us can hold our breath for at least 30 seconds.  Eventually, we all have to start breathing again. Under stress, our breathing may become very short and rapid. If allowed to go to an extreme, we may start to hyperventilate.  This is when we are told, to take a deep breath, and try to relax.  You will see athletes take a deep breath, as a way to relax, before they perform a function, in their sport. They are exerting some control of their breath.  When we start to exercise, our breathing will start to increase, and as the exercise becomes more strenuous, the breathing will become more rapid.  There will come a time depending on how good of shape we are in, that the breathing will become so labored, that we will have to slow down, or stop altogether. All of these things can be beneficial when dealing with everyday situations in life. Even though breathing is a natural and spontaneous function, there are ways we can inflict our control over how we breath, but only to a certain degree.

The same thing can be said, when we try to control what is going on in our lives. We all might think we have control of our lives, but in reality this control does not exist.  At times, we can control some aspects of our lives, but over all, it is circumstances, that are in control.  For many people this is a hard pill to swallow.  Trying to get control of your life, or certain situations, can lead many people to have debilitating frustrations. In order to gain control of your life, you must give up control of your life. When you realize this, your life will take on a whole new meaning, and it will free you from not only trying to control yourself, but other people as well. Just like breathing ,there are certain elements of your life you can control, like what time you might want to eat dinner, go to bed, and get up in the morning.  Even those things can be fouled up, by unforeseen circumstances.  Trying to set goals and not accomplishing them, may be seen as failures, in getting control of your life.  Even trying to improve personally, and not achieving a desired result can be more devastating, when it is tied in to the ability to control one’s life. That is why, when you give up control, that you get back control of your life.  When you realize, that life’s circumstances, whether seen or unforeseen, is what controls your life, you will become more flexible in dealing with day to day life.  It’s when you let go, allow things to evolve in the proper time and place, that your life becomes easier to live and accept. You create a new awareness, that will enable you to deal with life as it happens, not as you want it to happen. When things seems to be getting out of control, remember that life, like breathing, can only be controlled so much. Sit back and take that deep breath, dig in, and make the best of it.  You will be doing yourself your biggest favor.

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