Growing layers of life within
The search for lasting happiness for many is the quest of digging into the essence of life to better understand it. To have a deeper understanding of things, it is necessary to understand and refine the mechanism that we have to live this life. This mechanism can be roughly divided into three aspects: the body, the breath and the mind. All actions, happenings and experiences of our life occur around (and with) these aspects. Bringing change to one can modify the way we feel about the others aspects, and conversely to life in general.
The body is our physical form that allows us to move, sleep, eat and perform activities. As many say, it is our temple. It is what we have to live with. So it is essential to ensure that we keep it in optimal health, with less pain and discomfort. Even small distresses like a mild head-ache or joint-ache can change how we feel and that in return affects how we perceive the world and interact with others. Therefore, maintenance of the body should include the development of flexible and strong muscles, strong joints and ligaments, good circulation, good digestion and some degree of control over our senses. The ideal state is to live with the least amount of pain as possible, and to have a body that can walk, sit, lie down, relax, act, move and be still as desired.
The breath is more subtle, so working with the it also involves better refinement of our awareness. The breath also works as a bridge between the body and the mind, the gross matter and the pure subtle. Physiologically speaking, changes in the breath will create changes in the nervous and cardiovascular system, changing the workings of the mind. Thats why breathing can be the master of the two main processes of energising and relaxation. Awareness of the breath requires a deep power of focus but also demands a constant state of easiness. This teaches how to be focus and calm in the present.
The last aspect is the mind, the one which is not really tangible. We cannot grasp the mind, but we can see the effects of it’s work. When the mind is focused and relaxed at the same time the outcome will always be the best possible. There will be no misuse of energy. All life will be flowing on the same direction. Remember the moments when you were calmly happy, moments when you felt really alive. How was the mind on those moments? It was fully present and yet relaxed. The opposite of boredom, anxiety, stress, and worry, which clouds and agitates the mind.
The practices that bring these system in unison are used to develop awareness. The capacity of directing and holding the attention of the mind to an object. The mind is mostly running between the past and future and not really here, not in the present. Yet the breathing body is always here in the present. Learning how to be in this body which is here, in the present moment, is also learning how to live. Life is happening right now, with each external and internal movement. Being aware of both is being alive.