You’re running late for a meeting and you are stuck in traffic. The little old man in the car ahead is driving at a bullock cart speed. You can feel the frustration building when he crawls across an amber light and leaves you at a red! So here you have a choice. You can either let the tension rise (natural tendency) which is a waste of time because the traffic is outside your control, or you can go with the flow with some mindful breathing. Just try it the next time you are driving. 3 full, deep, mindful breaths in and out and see what a difference it makes.

Every single day there are moments of choice like this. Waiting in line for a coffee; waiting for a friend; or waiting for the ATM machine to spit out the money. Ha, the art of waiting. It’s hard to go past Indians who are experts at waiting, except at the traffic lights of course! When you drive along the streets of India you will see people at train stations, bus stops and coffee booths who have mastered the art of waiting. What’s the rush anyway?

The problem in our busy western live sis that we schedule everything too tightly. Too tight means NO SPACE. Just like my jeans these days! Not enough space. So we need to relax the schedule. Don’t try and jam pack the daily calendar. Instead of scheduling too many meetings, schedule space. It’s in the spaces that those sparks of creativity and genius actually flourish. Some of our best ideas may come on a slow long walk, or in the moment of waking, or even in a dream.

Every day, find a way, to create more space and time and freedom, but in moments of tension, learn how to use mindful breathing to fall back into that state of calm. It is truly a life skill for living well. Stuff  WILL HAPPEN that we prefer to resist. It’s the nature of life. But mindful breathing can help you to ride through the daily challenges with ease and grace.

Article by Ranjit Rao, author of Meditation and Martini.

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