An easy way to confirm the linkage of breath and mind is to notice how the movement of your breath mirrors the movement of your thoughts. For example, your breath is hard and fast when you are fearful or lustful. It is shallow and dull when you laze out. Knowing this, intelligently start using your exhalation whenever you are experiencing unwholesome states of mind. Expel unwholesome states through your exhalations by using the power of intention and the power of the movement of the breath. If necessary, arouse resolution and vigor to augment your intention of expelling mental toxins.
For example, if you are feeling lazy, first become aware of the shallow and dull breath,
then quickly change it to a deep
and forceful breath, and
intentionally breathe out sloth
and torpor with each exhalation.
Feel the expulsion of sloth and
torpor as you exhale forcefully.
If you cannot feel it you
may run a mental commentary
while exhaling. For example,
something like: “I am breathing out
sloth and torpor. I am expelling
them out of my mind. Yes!”
Similarly, if you are feeling fearful or lustful, first become aware of the shortness and hardness of your breath, then quickly change it to deep and soft breathing, and intentionally breathe out fear or lust with each exhalation. Feel the expulsion of greed (in the case of lust) or hatred (in the case of fear) as you exhale deeply and softly.
You can also use this technique to deal with physical pain. If there is pain in a localized area of the body, take your attention there, mentally confine your exhalation to that area and expel the aversion (to pain) with each exhalation while silently saying the word “heal.”
In this manner, by combining a strong intention with attention on the exhalation, you might be able to clean your mind of various toxic emotions. The key is to quickly adapt the breath movement that is exactly opposite to what it is during the influence of the toxic emotion, and then to employ the exhalation intelligently.
Copyright 2008 SOUL Research Institute
Intelligent breathing means transforming normal breathing into an activity of wholesome physical and mental development. Here is an example.
While walking or jogging, place your attention upon your breath. Become aware of each inhalation and exhalation. Then synchronize the movement of your breath with the movement of your body (your steps, in this case). Purposefully breathe in deeply, as you take, let’s say, four steps. Then breathe out thoroughly as you take the next four steps, thus synchronizing your breathing with walking.
If you walk like this for a few minutes you will get a physical workout (due to walking or jogging), a breathing workout (due to deep and thorough breathing), and a mental workout (due to paying attention to the body and the breath). You will triple the gains without investing additional resources or time! You will not only walk or jog longer, but you will also feel accomplished and happier at the end.
After having experienced the benefits a few times, you will never carry an iPod or entertain yourself while walking or jogging (or while doing anything for that matter), because you will no longer consider any activity—especially regular exercise—boring or burdensome.
After having developed breath awareness through synchronizing your physical movements with your breath movements during your daily activities, start giving more attention to the exhalation and observing the state of your mind during exhalation. You will notice that the mind is more flexible and more willing to let go during exhalation than during inhalation. You will also discover that during exhalation, like the body rids itself of physical toxins such as carbon dioxide, the mind also rids itself of mental toxins, such as anger, fear, lust, sloth, and torpor, provided you have trained the mind for that. This happens because the movement of breath is linked to your state of mind.