Yesterday, as part of one of my university classes, a Thai monk led an introductory session on Buddhist meditation. He essentially focused on mindfulness and relaxation techniques.
One part of this session included an exercise I already use (sometimes), which is helpful when seeking to focus: breathing practice. While breathing on the whole is clearly easy, breathing with intent is surprisingly difficult. But making the effort to stop and take several deep (and slow) breaths is a great feeling.
I have to focus on doing this while drumming – especially during a pieces that require extra attention. I often find myself holding my breath completely! The practice of disciplined breathing while playing is helpful for being attentive to the performance, but it can be challenging. It actually introduces a different sense of rhythm into the equation: relaxed breathing doesn’t often sync with the song tempo!
The discipline of breathing / the art of breathing… is a good starting point for christian spiritual practice. It allows for attention to God in this moment; for stillness before the Word; and for mobilisation by the Spirit, right here & right now.
Genesis 1:2 … and the breath of God hovered over the waters.