It is said that a single thought can change your entire life. If that’s true, then I would like to know what that thought is, so that I can think it. What single thought is so powerful that, after having it, your life is irrevocably changed for the better? It would have to be a thought that gets all the way down to the very essence of your Being- a thought so great that it somehow allows you to escape from the oppressive grip of existence. This thought would have the effect of freeing your mind, releasing all internal pressure while increasing your capacity to experience joy in this world. Does such a thought exist? It’s certainly worth looking into. Meanwhile, here are three thoughts to ponder that may or may not change your whole life forever.
1. At any given moment, you are either inhaling, exhaling, or holding your breath. And that’s it… those are the only three options to choose from. Admittedly, there are some didgeridoo players out there that have mastered the art of circular breathing, somehow managing to take a breath in while breathing out at the same time. But, for the vast majority of people reading this blog, these are the only three options available to you. Come to think of it, which one are you doing right now? Try keeping this simple yet effective thought in the forefront of your awareness throughout the day. Regardless of the circumstances you encounter, ask yourself, “Am I breathing in right now or am I breathing out?” You will be surprised how often you catch yourself holding your breath, especially when life gets stressful. But you’ll also find that it’s very difficult to get stressed out when your chest is relaxed, and your breath is gently flowing in and out. Experiencing less stress means that you will be less tired at the end of the day. By breathing fully, you oxygenate your blood, which sustains your energy throughout the day. Remember, it’s perfectly okay to catch yourself holding onto your breath, it’s simply another opportunity to let go of the pressure in your internal environment- either into the expansion of an inhale or into the release of an exhale.
2. There is only today. Sure, yesterday happened. There is no denying that. But, yesterday is a memory. At the time, I remember thinking that it was today. Likewise, tomorrow is definitely going to happen, but tomorrow exists only as a concept, not as anything material. We never get to actually experience tomorrow because, when we finally arrive there, we find that it’s today again. It’s important to remember this, lest you get swept up in regret. We tend to ruminate on the past, wishing we could have done things differently. “If only I could go back and change a decision that I made five, ten, twenty years ago, then everything in my life would be so much better.” But the fact is, you only get today- there’s no going back into the past and changing things. The past is gone anyway, you can’t go back there because there is nothing to go back to- there is only this. The way that things happened in the past is the only way they could have possibly happened in order to get you to this moment right here. You can free up so much mental and emotional energy simply by accepting the way that your life has unfolded up until this point, releasing the false notion that it could have gone differently.
3. You don’t get to live forever. When you think about it, existence is inherently bittersweet. As wonderful as it is, it doesn’t go on forever and ever. Like all good things, it must come to an end. We only get to experience about eighty or ninety trips around the sun here in the physical plane and then it’s time to move on. It doesn’t seem fair at first- why do we necessarily have to die in order to experience life? However, knowing that your time here is limited is precisely what makes your time here so precious. Besides, if all life went on forever, not only would this planet be completely overrun with people, but we would all eventually get sick and tired of being here. Because our life is finite, we can value and appreciate what it means to be alive. Keeping your mortality in mind helps prevent you from taking your life for granted. I’m not certain how it all works, but I’m pretty sure that a human birth on the physical plane is one of the greatest things that a soul could ever experience. Keep in mind that, even though this life has to one day come to an end, it’s still the best thing that could ever happen to you.
Nick Hughes is a massage therapist, yoga instructor and co-owner of Well Being.