It sounds simple, and it is. But because of its simplicity, most of us take the miracle of life for granted.
We are sustained by something, no matter what we choose to call it–God, Spirit, Lifeforce, Energy, Cosmic Consciousness, Universal Life, Chi, Ki, Prana, or any other name. It’s not the name that’s important; it’s the concept and the underlying force. We are sustained; therefore, we have breath. That’s miracle enough! But the true miracle of life and living, is that of ebb and flow.
With every breath we take, life is either ebbing–with the exhale–or flowing–with the inhale.
Each step we take is a rhythmic balancing act. If something in our bodies didn’t work properly, we could not take another step. To keep walking, balance must be maintained, and to start walking from a state of rest, balance must be restored.
We sleep, and we wake. Unfortunately again, we truly underestimate the power of sleeping and waking! We waste our waking hours with thoughts of “What if,” “If only,” “What’s next?” and “Not now.” And we miss the opportunities Life offers us–the chance to release old patterns, beliefs, thoughts and situations, and allow new ones to flow to and through us.
And we all know we don’t use our sleep wisely! We skimp on rest, drink caffeine-laced beverages and energy drinks to stay awake, because we don’t have time to sleep. Time is irrelevant. It, too, ebbs and flows. Some days it seems time is on our side. That’s when we’re in the flow, working with Life and its gifts. Other days we have no idea where time is going and where it’s taking us. That is ebb, and it’s perfectly natural.
What is not natural, is how we respond to ebbing time. Rather than giving thanks that time is shifting in our favor, we lament not having more time. And we know that what we resist, persists. So, learn to live with time’s flow, as well as its ebb, and to be grateful for both.
We are not linear beings. We are cyclical, spiraling, evolving beings. We have Life to thank for that! As we put aside society’s notions of productivity, good work, right and wrong, we realize that the ebb and flow of the universe is mirrored in our own hearts, minds, and bodies.
And that is why we need sleep! Sleep is a time to rest and rejuvenate the mind, as well as the body. It’s a time to assimilate, work out, and release parts of our lives. That is why we dream; it’s a tool to help us work with Universal ebb and flow: Working with it, not against it.
Sleep is also a time to reconnect with that Presence of Life within us. Before falling asleep, we can simply affirm a restful night, dedicating it to God or Spirit. And we can respect ourselves enough to truly rest, without escaping first into books and technologies. Sleep is a blessing, and we can shift and learn to embrace it as one.
We take time to be with other people. But just as important is the time we take for ourselves. This includes hobbies, interests, and creative activities. But more than that, it includes meditation, going within, quieting the personal ego mind, and contemplating and experiencing the Power and Presence of Life.
Next time you breathe–and hopefully you won’t wait long!–let yourself experience the ebb and flow of your breath. Yogis, mystics and meditators speak of this often. But only when we experience it for ourselves, can we truly appreciate the ebb and flow that is the miracle of Life.