Breathing is subconscious. That is to say, inhaling is usually an unconscious act. Most of the time, we do not think about breathing. It just happens. We must breathe, need to breathe and breathing just happens. Its control mechanism resides in the deepest part of our brains. Inhalation requires muscle contraction. The diaphragm contracts and air is drawn deep into the lungs. Exhalation is totally passive. The lungs empty simply because the diaphragm relaxes. The heart is similar in some ways. Blood fills the heart chambers passively and then when the heart contracts, blood is pushed out into the other organs. At the core of human life is the see saw of action and rest. Breathe in. Breath out. Heart beat. Heart rest. If the heart fails to rest in diastole, then over time it stiffens, the chamber deforms and the heart’s ability to do efficient work is lost.
The mind likely has a similar systole and diastole, inhalation and exhalation. There is time to focus and think, to decide and process, to ponder and problem solve. There is likely a counter mechanism, an absence of thought. One might consider sleep such a space, but my dreamscape is so lucid and vivid, I am not sure I would consider this passive or restful. If anything, sleep and dreaming is more like trash day, a time to clear out the garbage that has accumulated in the subconscious mind. Instead, during my waking hours, I believe there is time to have blank or passive mental space. It doesn’t have the rhythm of a pulse or a respiration, but it cycles Fail to give your mind a period of rest and it can become stiffened, inflexible and inefficient. Mental diastole can be meditation or prayer. It can be exercise or contemplative tasks. But, into that space comes the energy needed for healthy living and thinking. Like inhaling deeply, it brings the cleansing breath.
This morning I did silent cleaning and allowed my mind to clear. I intentionally avoided thinking or processing. The problems that need solutions are currently unsolvable. Devoting time to ponder them is fruitless. It there is to be a solution, it will arrive from an outside source. Focusing on them only foments anxiety which is anathema to relaxation. Instead, I focused on unclogging my vacuum cleaner hose and baking muffins.There is no rush. There is no need to push. Applied energy is equivalent to revving and engine of a parked car.
I will breathe. I will stretch. I will let my mind empty and I shall wait.