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The Presence Of Thoughts Is Most Obvious When They Are Gone

The presence of thoughts is most obvious when they are gone

I remember once reading that simply by focusing on our breath, our life may change completely. At the time I read it, it all seemed too far-fetched. Would that really be enough? How could breathing alone take care of my problems? Still – based on my critical response I realized that something inside got hooked. I decided to find out for myself whether this was true or not. From now on I would pay attention to my breath as often as I could. While going for a walk, while riding the train, in the midst of a conversation, while listening to music or someone talking, while eating…

It took a while before I noticed any change. It was hard enough making it a habit paying attention to my breath…

…but suddenly one day I was able to see my own thoughts. Instead of being fully identified with them, I was now able to look at them from a distance. What really blew my mind was that it did not take any effort. When it happened, I suddenly realized that what I had been practicing was not about the breath after all. Breath was just a vehicle bringing me to silence. 

If you try, you will notice that it is impossible to have two thoughts on your mind at the same time. If you focus on your breath, your mind will be empty and quiet. Your attention will be withdrawn from the mental activity. Now, when the mental activity seems to reappear, it will stand out from the silence that you are. The silence is where we act from. 

Observing our breath is the simplest and most accessible technique we can use in order to get in touch with our beingness. We do not need to go anywhere. Our consciousness, our thoughtlessness is already here. There are always new layers to peel. Every time we improve our observational skills, another layer is being revealed, even more subtle than the previous one. Then we forget ourselves, and we get caught by a thought or an emotion. Gently we remind ourselves where we are at, and once again we return to ourselves. New layers being discovered, movement outward, movement inward. Just like the breath.

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