I’d like to share with you a small philosophy that came to me recently.
I don’t meditate as often as I would like to, but each time I sit down to this honorable activity, my respect for it and for the people adept at it grows. I was meditating a few days ago, and was constantly trying to stop my mind from thinking, “Yes! Now I am only thinking about my breathing!” Because the minute I thought that, I was no longer focusing solely on my breathing and, consequently, I wasn’t doing a very good job at meditating.
So, I instead decided to imagine that my sole purpose in life in that very moment was to take this particular breath—the breath that I was about to take right then. I tried not to think of the previous breath (number 2) or of the upcoming breath (number 4). I filled my whole universe with this single breath. I was this breath. And then I was the next one and then the next one. I was every breath, but each one separately because each one in its turn was the most important thing for me in that moment.
Then I wondered why not apply this way of thinking to how I generally do things. For example, later when I was sitting in front of the computer and was trying to focus my mind on writing, my thoughts kept bouncing off that intimidating blank digital piece of paper and instead scattered to subjects such as the laundry that had been sitting in the washing basket for two days.
And then I remembered: I am every breath. Every single one of them.
I focused my mind on the task at hand just like I had focused my mind on this single breath. And so, for the time being, writing became the single most important task in the world. All other projects and chores were other breaths. I would give them my full attention when the time came for them to be in turn the most important ones in the world. Then they would have my full, laser-focused attention, so I could do them well. One breath at a time.