Our breathing is a stable solid ground that we can take refuge in. Regardless of our internal weather – our thoughts, emotions and perceptions- our breathing is always with us like a faithful friend. Whenever we feel carried away, or sunken in a deep emotion, or scattered in worries and projects, we return to our breathing to collect and anchor our mind.
We feel the flow of air coming in and going out of our nose. We feel how light and natural, how calm and peaceful our breathing functions. At any time, we can return to this peaceful source of life.
We may like to recite:“Breathing in I know that I am breathing in.
Breathing out I know that I am breathing out.”
We do not need to control our breath. Feel the breath as it actually is. It may be long or short, deep or shallow. Conscious breathing is the key to uniting body and mind and bringing the energy of mindfulness into everyday life.
An unusual St Patrick’s Day when people are fearful, and gatherings are not allowed, in church or in the pub. We need to find resources and blessings within and then extend those blessings to all who are afraid and especially those most vulnerable at this time.
When the canvas frays in the currach of thought and a stain of ocean blackens beneath you, may there come across the waters a path of yellow moonlight to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours, may the clarity of light be yours, may the fluency of the ocean be yours, may the protection of the ancestors be yours. And so may a slow wind work these words of love around you, an invisible cloak to mind your life.
John O’Donohue, Beannacht
Beannachtai na Féile Padraig oraibh go léir: The blessings of Saint Patrick’s Day to you all.
Anytime I go to the West of Ireland I am always struck by the vastness of the horizons and the wildness of the ocean. This photo comes from Valentia Island, a beautiful, enchanted, place off the South West coast, with peaceful walks and windy beaches, seals, puffins and seabirds. But it is from the movement of the ocean that we can learn most, how to remain spacious and keep the heart soft, open and fluid.
May there come across the waters A path of yellow moonlight To bring you safely home. May the nourishment of the earth be yours, May the clarity of light be yours, May the fluency of the ocean be yours, May the protection of the ancestors be yours. And so may a slow Wind work these words Of love around you, An invisible cloak To mind your life.
John O’Donoghue, Beannacht
(If you are ever tempted to visit this beautiful place, I would highly recommend this airbnb, run by Tom, a deeply thoughtful man and the perfect host. He runs a lovely house with well-stocked bookshelves, ideal for a reflective break.)