Taking the Next Breath

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The caption to this cartoon is one of those statements that push us to think about the things we hold onto and what we have not yet reached. The "leap" can be about making big changes which seem so due to the implications of the unknown. In responsible, obligation-based culture leaps should be calculated and not undertaken without knowing everything we can about where we might land in order to keep us safe from harm. The truth is we would all be dead if we did this at the most fundamental level.  Breathing would be a good example. 

There is a leap to every breath we take.  We know what it's supposed to do, but we rarely micromanage that even though we can never be sure what will fill our lungs and affect our senses.  There may be scents of cake and we will feel hungry.  There could be the poisons of smog or the smell of skunk and we might hold our breath trying to avoid what is unpleasant, but it's already in us. There is no time to test, measure, or manage the next breath.  Without knowing for sure, we have to take the leap of inhaling or we will absolutely die.

As a matter of taking the next breath we must let go of the breath we have taken no matter how good it was, because the breath changes and is not the breath we took in.  What got us pleasant scents and fresh oxygen is replaced with wastes and toxins we need to release.  There is no time to sort through it and see if there is something salvageable; we must let go or we will surely expire.

Because it's so important that we breathe we don't think about it very often.  But to be mindful of the breath is to be mindful of what life is about at its very essence. We can plan, but we can't know for sure what will happen next and we must move forward regardless.  There's no sense worrying about it.  Like the breath we just have to go with the flow.  Like the butterfly in the drawing, we can take the advice of the teacher on the precipice, and move on without fear of falling.  Breathing is faith well practiced, that what we need will be abundantly available to us as it is required.  Mindfulness of this truth makes every day a little easier. 

Breathe easy,

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