Take time to notice from where you’re breathing right now. Where does your breath “live”? In the Mouth, Chest, or Abdomen? Is it quick or slow? Rhythmic or variable? Shallow or Deep? Quiet or Audible? By directing awareness to the quality of the breath, we cause it to return to a more harmonic pattern. Those of us with chronic cold hands and feet can treat this just by regulating the breath. By training it to become gradually deeper, more rhythmic, quiet, and moderate in pace, it can fill all Three Cavities. By allowing the Lungs to flow rhythmically like the tides of the ocean, they can spread this warming, nourishing energy to our extremities. With harmony of breath comes the restoration of all other harmonies in body, mind, and spirit.
Try one more exercise to see the intimate connection between the breath and the emotions. Breathe rapidly as if hyperventilating, breathe normally for a while, then hold your breath for as long as you can. Both hyperventilation and the lack of breath induce a rise in blood pressure and subsequent increase in fear and anxiety. By learning to breathe more rhythmically, fully, and deeply, we can rest on the pivot and not be thrown off by the teeter-tottering events of the world and people around us.
There are many ways to ground. What I am suggesting here is the most helpful. Sleep on the ground--preferably on the soil, as opposed to the floor in a house. Modern building techniques compounded with the excessive use of metals and electronics in industrialized society interferes with the natural subtle energies of the Earth--those that promote restoration, rejuvenation, and relaxation. Try going camping for a week and be sure to sleep on the ground. If this is not an option, try grounding in other ways such as: walking in an old forest or patch of woods near a running stream or even traditional organic gardening. Go hiking or spend time in contact with large stones without the barriers of rubber-soled shoes. The Earth functions as a grounding wire for all energies as seen in the lightning strike. It is also the great transformer of all things--turning death and decay into life-giving compost.
Many people think that Belief, or Faith, is something we are born with or are blessed to receive through revelation. While this may be true for some, it too can be cultivated. This is done most easily through ritual, which need not be complicated. The key to effective ritual is focused intent and regularity in timing and ambient circumstances. Ritual can be totally secular as in the lighting of candles or incense or the burning of oils. It may be spiritually focused too, such as the recitation of prayers or the making of offerings to otherworldly teachers or guides. Whatever your spiritual inclination or not, incorporate a small ritual into your daily routine for the next 30 days. Do the same ritual day after day at the same time on the clock and at the same time in the order of your routine and, most importantly, keep focused on your intent for sustainable positive change. Be diligent and don’t let circumstances or excuses get in the way of performing your ritual. Make it short enough to fit your schedule and lifestyle. By caring for these, you will receive maximum benefits, an increase in Faith, and greater Tranquility.