Episode 29: Breathing and Thinking
Today’s episode is episode 2 of the Ten-Second Centering Series
The “ten-second” part of ten-second centering refers to a single breath of ten seconds’ duration that you use as a container to hold a specific thought. The first thing I’d like you to do is familiarize yourself with what ten seconds feels like. Take some time right now and observe the second hand of your watch or your wall clock. Experience ten seconds. Really feel each second. Be patient and observant and repeat the process a few times until you get a good, visceral sense of ten seconds.
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Eric Maisel: Hello everybody, welcome to today’s episode of Your Purposed Centered Life. Before we begin, I have a little request. I’m taking an anonymous survey of my listeners and I hope that you’ll participate as your participation helps me get sponsors. Just drop over to personallifemedia.com and click on the listener survey ad on my show page. Thanks so much for supporting Your Purposed Centered Life.
Today’s show is another episode in the ten second centering series. This series is designed to help you grow calmer quickly, so that you can live your life purpose. It doesn’t matter how clear you are about your life purpose, if you live your life in an anxious and uncentered way. The technique that I’m teaching can make all the difference between living an unfulfilled life and living an authentic one. I hope that you’ll follow the whole series.
Today’s episode is called breathing and thinking. Let’s begin.
The ten second part of ten second centering refers to a single breath of ten seconds duration that you use as a container to hold a specific thought. The first thing I’d like you to do is familiarize yourself with what ten seconds feels like. Take some time right now and observe the second hand of your watch or your wall clock, experience ten seconds. Really feel each second. Be patient and observant and repeat the process a few times until you get a good visceral sense of ten seconds. What I think you’ll notice is that ten seconds is significant amount of time and even a surprisingly long amount of time. It probably feels longer and more substantial than you expected it would. Each second of the ten seconds is a distinct entity, clearly separate and distinguishable from the one that preceded it and the one that followed it.
Five seconds, the increment of time between the one and the two on the dial face is its own distinct entity, made distinct because the way a dial face is designed. Ten seconds the increment of time between the one and the three is likewise a clear, contained unit.
The customary breath you take is on the order of two or three seconds in duration. This is normal, natural, automatic and does a fine job of keeping you alive. Exactly because it is natural and automatic a breath of this length does nothing to interrupt your mind chatter, alter your sense of a given situation or support change. When you consciously decide to breath more slowly and deeply you alert your body to the fact that you want it to behave differently. You are not just changing your breathing pattern, you are making a full body announcement that you are entering into a different relationship with your mind and your body. The long deep ten second breath that you take as part of the ten second centering process, serves as a container for specific thoughts, but before it does that it serves as the very best way available to you to stop what you are doing and thinking. If you have been doing something compulsive and harmful to yourself this alteration in breathing gives you the chance to bring awareness to your behavior. If you have been obsessively worrying about something, the conscious production of one long, deep breath interrupts your mind flow and provides you with a golden opportunity to counter your anxious thoughts.
Please practice now. Practice taking a long deep breath. Five seconds on the inhale and five seconds on the exhale. Do this several times.
Your tendency to rush on may prevent you from engaging with and mastering this first step. Don’t let that tendency derail you here at the beginning. Your only job right now is to practice taking long, deep breaths and working through any obstacles that arise to deep breathing. Those obstacles may include physical ones like dizziness or mental ones like the thought that this is boring or silly. Overcome those obstacles by continuing to practice. Say to yourself, I am willing to give this a real shot. If some obstacle to deep breathing remains, have a conversation with yourself about why that obstacle may have arisen and what you can do to eliminate it.
The meat of ten second centering is using the long, deep breath that you just mastered as a container to hold a specific thought. Let’s consider the following thought, stained glass window and the other thought I am perfectly fine. One task you face when you insert a thought into a long deep breath is deciding how to break it up so that it divides naturally and rhythmically between the inhale and the exhale. You’ll discover for instance that stained glass window divides most naturally as “stained glass” on the inhale and “window” on the exhale and that I am perfectly fine, divides most naturally as “I am perfectly” on the inhale and “fine” on the exhale. Give this a try and see if you agree.
Set aside a little time to practice breathing and thinking. Create some phrases of your own and pop each one into a long, deep breath. Learn the nuances of splitting up phrases so that they naturally and comfortably fit into the container that a long, deep breath creates. Practice this process, enjoy it and don’t move on until you’ve given it a least a few minutes of your time.
That ends today’s show, I hope that you enjoyed and I hope that you’ll tune in next week for another episode of Your Purpose Centered Life. If you subscribe to Your Purpose Centered Life you won’t miss a single episode. To subscribe please visit personallifemedia.com or look for Your Purpose Centered Life in I Tunes. You might also want to visit my blog where many guest correspondents write about issues of interest in the secular humanist, skeptical, free thinking extensional and atheist traditions. My blog is available at the personallifemedia.com website. If you’d like to drop me an email, I’d love to hear from you, my email address is [email protected]. And I hope that you’ll visit my website to learn more about my books and services. To visit please head over to ericmaisel.com, that’s [spells out] E-R-I-C-M-A-I-S-E-L dot com. Thank you for listening. Oh, and a last reminder about the anonymous survey I’m taking of my listeners. I hope you’ll participate. Just go to personallifemedia.com and click on the listener survey ad on my show page.
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