I’d like to introduce you to my latest video and the accompanying post below by Andre Talbot:
What does fear feel like? Where does this feeling come from? On a recent visit to my uncle Paul’s place on beautiful Georgian Bay, I had the opportunity to explore these questions.
Since I was a young child, I’ve had a sensation arise, sometimes subtle, sometimes intense, when swimming in deep waters (I know I’m not the only one who feels this way). The deep dark waters invoke a natural instinct within me that stimulates my “fight or flight” response.
While swimming in Georgian Bay during my latest visit, I decided to observe these feeling tones more closely. As I allowed my body to sink into cooler, darker waters I listened deeply to the arising sensations. The “fear” seemed to come from the very centre of my being and rippled outward through my entire body, manifesting in physical tension within my neck and shoulders. I assured myself that there was nothing to fear, my family was swimming nearby, the sky was clear and blue and to the best of my knowledge there are no man-eating fish in this bay. As I reminded myself of these facts, I wondered if perhaps the breath could be my “life-saver” in this under water experiment. I began to listen to the sound of my breath through the snorkel and noticed that it was quite tense and short, perhaps on its way towards panic. This breath awareness allowed me to regulate my breathing towards a softer and subtler pattern, breathing in and breathing out. The connection to my breath soon led to a softening and a relaxing sensation throughout my mind and body. The experience in the water transitioned to a very pleasant and peaceful one, deeply rooted in nature.
This was a great reminder about the power of our breath. Perhaps there are other times in life when our habitual reaction of “fight or flight” can be subdued. Public speaking, social gatherings or disagreements are all perfect examples of how our practice of mindfulness on the yoga mat and meditation seat can be integrated into our daily lives.
Later that weekend we went sailing towards Gin Rocks, a small island. After dropping anchor, we snorkelled in the beautiful turquoise waters alongside small bass fish and turtles. I put my breathing technique into practice. It felt great to know that I have these tools available to me in my daily life.
Just as this feeling of accomplishment and pride settled into my mind, and ego, my gaze happened upon a massive (3-4 ft. long) dinosaur-like carp fish swimming only a few arms lengths away from me. My quick leap out of the shallow waters and frantic scream of “Catalina!” (she was snorkeling nearby) reminded me of how quickly old habits can return.
Practice, practice, practice.
If through mindfulness of the breath you generate harmony, depth and calm, these will penetrate into your body and mind. In fact, whatever happens in the mind affects the body, and vice versa. If you generate peacefulness in your breathing, that peacefulness permeates your body and your state of mind. ~ Thich Nhat Hahn