Community//

Peace of Mind, One Breath at a Time

How returning to your breath can help you stay afloat

By Linda Souders, Journey Meditation Teacher

Peace of mind, defined as “a feeling of being safe or protected,” is not something that is bestowed upon us when, say, all our ducks are in a row, or external circumstances are calm and harmonious. Peace of mind can be cultivated in the most turbulent times; amidst the most turbulent emotions. It is a continuously cultivated quality. One breath at a time.

Meditation teacher, Pema Chodron, says, “Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.” In order for choice to happen, a pause is required.

Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankel, said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

My meditation practice has been key to helping me cultivate the space – that ability to pause, and take a deep, breath, which creates the necessary space between my awareness and whatever is happening.

When I sink back into my observer perspective, “the witness,” I can simply watch, like a movie on a screen, the stream of thoughts moving through my mind, the stream of emotions flowing through my body, and the physical sensations constantly morphing and changing.

And from that calm place, can then make the choice to not let outer circumstances affect my inner peace. I can simply notice the thoughts, emotions, and sensations arising – triggered by a situation. And choose to not blend with those emotions, attach to those thoughts, get tangled up in all of it.

This practice has been instrumental in helping me to constructively navigate the many moments of difficult emotions, like fear, anxiety or sadness, which have normally surged during the inevitable rapids of my life – The Great Recession, a divorce, a career transition, and single parenting.

When I focus on my breath, whatever is flowing in that moment will eventually pass on through. In this way, I have come to view my breath as a surfboard. I can surf peacefully through the ups and downs of life by staying anchored into the stability of my breathing. Peace is always there. And I can access it one breath at a time.

Learn more about Journey LIVE, the first live guided group meditation app. 

    The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    The truth about meditation and why you can’t fail at it.

    by Isabelle Griffith
    Community//

    “Help Patients Understand The Difference Between Meditation And Mindfulness Practices.” With Bianca L. Rodriguez and Ashley Graber

    by Bianca L. Rodriguez, Ed.M, LMFT
    Community//

    Why All Leaders Need Mindfulness Practices

    by Christine Comaford

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.