On our first visit, Joe talked about his highly successful corporate job, his travels, and his lucrative income. He worked nonstop and only occasionally enjoyed a beer with colleagues. He had been married for a few years and then divorced. His focus was on his career, money, and recognition.
But something was missing. Joe had contacted me for an integrative counseling session because he felt a gnawing sense of loneliness and emptiness.
“I don’t know if I can keep living like this” he said. “I feel little to nothing. All I do is work. This is what life is all about?”
Together we explored his life path and the many choices he had made. We also talked about wholeness and, balance.
“You also have a heart and a spirit, and they’re yearning to open.” I said.
I led Joe in a five-minute breathing exercise, and afterward, his eyes welled up with tears. “I am here. I haven’t felt peace like this in so long.” He buried his head in his hands and cried.
Our mind often can take us on a wild ride. Just realizing that we don’t have to take that wild ride brings a breath of fresh air and ease into our everyday existence. A new sense of freedom and spaciousness has room to enter.
Our mind slows when we let go of the past and the what-ifs about the future and just keep coming back to this moment. When we slow our minds and bring them into the present, we take charge of our lives. It is in the present moment where we are fully alive and where joy and peace reside.
As I showed Joe, paying attention to our breath is a way of coming back to the present. Simply watching our breath enter through our nostrils, and feeling its coolness on the inhale and warmth on the exhale, is an experience of the present moment, because our body and our breath are always in the present – never the past or future.
When we practice breathing exercises like the one I shared with Joe (or other practices that bring us into the present, such as prayer, meditation, and mindfulness), our thoughts and endless internal chatter stop. An understanding that we are a spirit in a body surfaces. An unnameable calmness and ease arise.
Some days it can be hard to slow our mind. On those days, keep practicing.
On his next visit, Joe declared, “I’ve been practicing breathing and meditating, and my whole understanding of life has changed. I’m experiencing some moments of peace for the first time in my life. I’m happier. Even my family is noticing that I have changed.”
Slowing down our mind, and, untangling our essence from the constant chatter of our mind allows us to be here, in the present, fully. And being in the present allows us to touch into the deep peace and joy that is here for all of us.
Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of this client.