Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Breathing - a habit worth remembering

"Conscious breathing is my anchor". Thich Nhat Hanh

There is such a profound simplicity in remembering to come back to the breath.

"From birth to death this function of in-breathing and out-breathing continues without a break, without a stop, but since we do not consciously reflect on it, we do not even realize the presence of this breath. If we do so, we can derive much benefit by way of calm and insight".

The poem below made me think again of those excruciatingly painful moments of witnessing the last out-breath of those we love.

Still Life

I shall not soon forget
The greyish-yellow skin
To which the face had set:
Lids tight:nothing of his,
No tremor from within,
Played on the surfaces.
He still found breath, and yet
It was an obscure knack.
I shall not soon forget
The angle of his head,
Arrested and reared back
On the crisp field of bed,
Back from what he could neither
Accept, as one opposed,
Nor, as a life-long breather,
Consentingly let go,
The tube his mouth enclosed
In an astonished O.

Thom Gunn

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