It may seem ridiculous for someone to remind you to breathe. Doesn’t breathing happen autonomically?
While it is true that if we try to hold our breath too long, our body will force us to breathe, it is possible to spend a whole lifetime breathing poorly.
Many wise ones direct us to pay attention to, and develop enlightening ways of, breathing. As Andrew Weil says,
In Buddhist and yogic traditions, people claim to have reached an enlightened state by doing nothing more than paying attention to the rising and falling of their breath.
There is one way of breathing that is shameful and constricted. Then, there’s another way: a breath of love that takes you all the way to infinity.
When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.
…………..~ Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God.
Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?
…………..~ the rest of this poem by Mary Oliver