One Hundred Breaths

Once, I was in a foreign land. A visa denied stranded me to its shores on my journey to another. I was lost, in every sense, and I felt that I could not continue. That day, I remember walking about, hurriedly trying to find a place to sleep in this strange place before night fell and others lurked about. Thankfully, an old lady took me into her abode where she had a room to spare. That night, I thought about what I was missing, my family, my friends, all for what, to trounce around the world? Perhaps I felt guilty too, it is hard to tell from my current vantage. It was more a sense of unease, of poor planning and those consequences returning in this due time. My mind was racing with worry, of whether I’d be able to continue my trip, or even to leave this country. Did I have enough money left? Did I have enough time left? So many problems to solve. I slept late with those thoughts circulating.

There were a great many temples here. Some were in tiny street corners, with burning incense being the only sign they existed. Others loomed over the city, a monument to the olden times. In a local one, I sat cross-legged before the towering One before me, a great golden Buddha. I had always found respite in Siddhartha’s teachings, but never with a visage so magnanimous. My mind was distraught, so I tried something I had not really done before.

I breathed. Then I counted. In. Out. In again. And out again. Each breath incrementing my mental counter, I felt change. Each breath came and went, and my intrusive thoughts quieted. Frisson washed over me at certain points, and my body relaxed as each muscle let go of all attachments.

To one hundred I went, and when I came out of the meditative trance, there was only serene calm. Another feeling welled up as well. I found intense focus, and I knew what I had to do. Long story short, I continued on my worldly journey, my next visa being accepted. Meditation does not change one’s outward problems, of course, but it aids in clearing the mind to solve these problems. Therefore, in times of need, I ask you to take one hundred breaths, or even ten, or even just one. Breathe in deeply, filling your lungs, and breathe out just as deeply; in, and out. The rollicking ship on tempestuous storms finds its placid ocean soon enough.

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