The Dalai Lama talks about using our breath to create a state of being, for ourselves and for others.  Referred to as compassionate breathing, His Holiness teaches us to breathe in to cherish the self and breathe out to cherish others.

In this practice, it is not just “I” that is important; in fact we are all in this together.  When we breathe out cherishing others, he says we activate our heart of compassion.  We are sending our love out into the world. 

And when we express love, it comes back to us.

He goes on to say that we are individuals necessarily in relationship with others – just as the in-breath is in relationship to the out-breath.  One cannot do without the other.

You only have to look at nature to see that it is doing exactly the same: plants ‘breathe’ through the process of photosynthesis.  They ‘breathe in’ light from the sun, and along with water and carbon dioxide, through a process of conversion, which is so utterley intelligent it blows my mind, they ‘breathe out’ glucose and oxygen – and nearly all life depends on this energy to live, and as we breathe in that oxygen, we breathe out carbon dioxide, and so the whole process is linked, joined, and the cycle perpetuates itself: life giving life.

So, I got to thinking about breath tonight, and began to feel grateful that I could just breathe in and out.  In that in-breath and out-breath lies our very being, our very existence.  You exist because you breathe and you breathe because you exist.  We are alive.  I know that because I breathe.  My breath pumps oxygen around my body and makes my heart beat.  My heart can feel my aliveness when I really allow myself to stop and focus on it.  

Our breath links us with others and with Life itself.  As the Dalai Lama so succinctly says, 

Inhaling and exhaling are distinguishable from each other, but they are part of an integrated process. Our self identity and the identity of others are distinguishable, but we are necessarily in relationship together, as we are with the entire cosmos and the whole of consciousness.


Next time you’re fussing, stop.  Breathe.  Feel your life pumping through your veins by this simple but oh so miraculous free gift we call breath.  BREATHE. In the great words of His Holiness:

Breathing in, I cherish the life I have been given Breathing out, I cherish the life of others.