The first week of Lent we will focus on the mindfulness practice of breath. Please take a second and assure you are in a comfortable position – preferably with both feet on the floor and your hands on your thighs, as this is a grounded position. However, it is most important that you are simply comfortable. Now close your eyes for a moment, this assures that we are inwardly focused, undistracted. All you need to do is be attentive to your breath.

We typically pay little attention to our breath throughout our daily lives. There is great celebration when a new born baby breathes his/her first breath, and we find ourselves again deeply moved when a loved one breathes their last. We have just celebrated the Advent & Epiphany seasons, the time when we celebrate the Christ Child taking his first breath. Now, in the season of Lent we prepare for the moment when Jesus breathes his last. However, it is the time in between these two moments – where the body is in the soul, that breath is most sacred, most holy. It is at this time that breath is spiritual practice. It is during this time that the breath, the spirit, dances within us.
Closing your eyes again, I encourage you to breathe deeply and consciously. Take a deep breath in through your nose, as you do this feel your chest and abdomen expand with your breath and then exhale through your mouth, taking note of the emptying within your body. Now do this a second time, but more slowly, more consciously than before; and now a third time, this time feeling the relaxation in your body. We cannot return to our previous breath, to perfect it or change it. We can only continue breathing into the future.

Plants breathe, the whole earth breathes, and in doing so the plant life provides clean air for us to breathe. Be mindful during the coming week of your breath. Each time you catch yourself breathing reflect on the breath of the earth, and each time you look at the package of seeds on your refrigerator door think of all those connected to your mission by breath. Think of the plants and our reliance upon them for clean air to breathe. Our breath is our fundamental interconnectedness with all of creation. Throughout this week, as we practice the mindfulness of our breath, we are breathing with all of creation and we are breathing together as a community. As we do this we are practicing resurrection, we are planting seeds in our souls and creating new life.

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