Category Archives: mindful breathing

Washing Our Hearts

Courtesy studio3music.com

Anger is like germs on our hands. Every individual has a responsibility to contain it, to wash it away rather than let it spread through violent deeds or angry words. We wash our hands with water. We wash our hearts with breath.

At school, my three year old grandson, Micah is learning to use his words when he is angry instead of hitting. But, Micah wants to be a super hero. So, I am teaching him the super power of loving kindness. And, he is learning.

Today, a playmate grabbed a toy out of his hands while we were at the park. Micah visibly held back from hitting her, grabbing the toy while saying sternly, “I was playing with that toy. Give it back to me!” The girl dug deeper into her anger, crossed her arms, stomped her foot, and said to Micah, “I am taller than you are and I don’t have to listen to you!” Micah turned his back to her and played with the toy, guarding it jealously.

I waited a bit to let things cool off, then called Micah over and told him I was glad he chose to use his words instead of hitting. “Do you want to use your secret super power?” I asked. He nodded his head yes, so together we took some deep breaths, washing away the anger; a baptism not of water, but of spirit. Then, as we often do, we recited together our firm resolve: To be kind, to be kind, and to be kind.

What happened next was simply an act of grace. Micah told his playmate, “It’s OK; we can be friends again.” This spontaneous forgiveness gave her the emotional support she needed. She said, “I’m sorry,” and so did Micah. They held hands, and ran away together laughing.

Loving kindness is the very heart of God. God is mindful when the sparrow falls, and when we fall too. Breathing allows us to become mindful of the loving heart of God. No wonder Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14 NIV) Super heroes with super powers.

What Discernment Means

Courtesy berniesiegelmd.com

“Sometimes genuine discernment is wrongly seen as a mental decision about what is good followed by an act of will to carry out that good. I would say, rather, that discernment is the awareness of centered or not-centered energy in the organism…This awareness comes from an accumulated awareness of who we fully and genuinely are. It is knowing where our center – and hence our life – resides, as well as where it does not…As life builds up more and more sense of our total selves, more and more inclusion of body, mind, and emotion in our self-experience, it becomes less and less possible for us to choose against ourselves,….Discernment well made – that is, experience well known – makes choice natural, even easy. Choice is that decision either to retain boundaries of judgment manifested by blocked body energies or to risk letting in everything we are…In doing so we abandon predictions of how life will turn out, judgments of what is good or bad, assessments of what does or doesn’t fit. We simply live from our center.”

Suzanne Zuercher
Benedictine Sister