Without thinking about it, we all breathe in and out repeatedly each day. For the most part, we do this unconsciously while we are awake and, thankfully, while we are asleep too.
We all breath in and out 20,000 times each day.
Unless you are an extreme diver, or super fit, you will struggle to hold your breath for much more than a minute or three.
Our bodies and brains need oxygen to survive and our lungs exhale toxins like carbon dioxide.
We are doubly fortunate to be a part of the biosphere on Planet Earth where plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide and replenish the oxygen in our atmosphere.
These are the known aspects of the breath and are literally vitally important to keep us alive.
Those who are sadly afflicted by coronavirus will know all too well about the deleterious effect of a lack of oxygen.
There are some other subtle influences and attributes of the breath to which we might not give a second thought. Did you know, for example, that for the most part, we only speak on an out breath? We are not generally mindful that we smell on the in breath. Try both out now.
The breath does more than merely keep our mortal body alive.
If you have practiced yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong or Pilates, you will have felt the effect the breath has on our life force, also known as our chi. A few deep in and out breaths each day will enliven and energise us.
More subtly than this, our creativity is powered by our breath. The word inspiration is derived from the Latin word ‘spirare’ - which means to breathe.
The key to unlocking creativity which is so inspired is to meditate each and every day.
The reason many meditations focus on and utilise the breath is a peculiarity of our thoughts. The normal human mind is only capable of having one thought at a time. Think about what you are thinking about right now to experience this phenomenon.
So when we focus on the in and the out breath, our minds tend to go quiet.
It is in these quiet moments that our inspirations and ideas tend to arrive - out of the blue.
What’s more, with just a week or so’s practice, we can maintain a quiet mind when our eyes are open and when we are engaged on creative tasks. This helps us to prevent our minds from wandering away from what we are working on and our efficiency increases as a result.
If you invest just 10 or 20 minutes each day in meditation, or just going for a walk in nature, you will get this time back many times over in your creative output and indeed with increased vitality and enhanced wellness.
In many ways, it’s a kind of madness not to meditate.
Tom Evans is an in-spiring meditation guide, author and ambient music composer based in the UK. Thousands of people breathe in and out each day with Tom’s using his free meditations. Discover more about the power of the breath and benefits of meditation on his website: