What part of breathing is best?
Now think about it for a moment.
In every breath there is an inhale, an exhale, and a pause between.
Let's just say for the sake of conversation that the inhale is the most important. This isn't that far fetched. If you were going to hold your breath what would you rather do, hold your breath at the end of an inhale or hold your breath at the end of an exhale?
Try it.....take a deep breath in and hold it. See how it feels.
Once your done take a few breaths in between and then blow all your air out on a long exhale and then hold your breath. See how that feels.
I think that you will notice that it is easier to hold your breath after an inhale than it is after an exhale.
Now, what if I told you that all of military training was training to inhale.
Try your inhaler again,
Can you feel how it makes you feel expanded?
How it fills you up making you feel bigger than you were a moment before?
That's military training,
the growth and the change from the civilian
to the warrior who is impervious to pain.
What have we been taught as warriors? Have we been taught to recognize the exhale or to recognize the balance of who we really are? Or have we been taught to boost and expand and grow the most aggressive and hard aspects of ourselves?
Of course this is valuable. Trying to exhale fully and hold your breath doesn't make sense.
to let go,
is not preparation for war.
And yet, if for the next 10 minutes you focused only on the expansive, the big part of the breath over and over again you would hyper ventilate.
Your body would put you in a position that was out of your control, your body would force you to face the consequences of your actions whether you wanted to or not.
Your military training,
your hard style training,
would come in and give you a chance to fight against this change,
this need to soften.
Your military training would help you deny all the signals your body was giving you.
Maybe you have experienced this negative state before and yet you just kept driving on, kept ignoring the signals.
In those moment are you not denying who you are?
To deny the soft,
the let go,
To hold your breath is not living
How could it be?
Life is breath, is it not? What's the first thing we are taught to look for when evaluating a casualty? Do you know what the Buddha taught in his first lesson to his students? A breathing practice.
And yet, this is where I think people get stuck. Do you think I'm just arguing for you to embrace the soft, the release, the let go, over the hard?
Hard style by itself is not living anymore than soft style is.
Yeah man, just chill, just relax........negative.
What does the statement, "it took my breath away mean"?
Sometimes when I look at my little 8 month old daughter it takes my breath away.
Hard, soft, whatever, neither exist in moments of wonder and awe.
You see peace is no more soft than it is hard. Some teachers may tell you that it's a balance, nope it's not that either.
The hard and the soft simply are.
Life, the good shit, the shit that you wanna be alive for, takes your breath away.
Military hard style training works for the same reason it feels better to hold your breath after an inhale instead of after an exhale.
But it doesn't last.
Neither does soft.
Breathing is life, not because it's both hard and soft, but because it's also neither.
ARMOR DOWN UPDATES
This post was guided by the 106th stanza of the Art of Peace, a book written by Morihei Ueshiba
Armor Down is backing Legislation "H.R. 3516" AKA "The Veterans and Armed Forces’ Health Promotion Act of 2013".
This bill will
• Expand the scope of holistic care education and research for signature wounds such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
• Establish complementary and alternative medicine pilot programs for mental health and pain management treatment for veterans.
• Create a grant pilot program to upgrade Veteran Service Organization facilities, expanding the reach of wellness services directly into economically strained communities.
Show your support for this legislation by signing this petition.
A new comedy on Fox, called Enlisted is really funny. Check it out.
Mindful Memorial Day is coming in May.