For many years, I have studied the process of what it takes for us to be our best selves. I have looked for the most simple and practical ideas that if practiced effectively, would yield the greatest outcomes. Since humans are so complex, I figured the answer would also be complex and need to be tailored to the uniqueness of each person.
I recently came to terms with what I think the best tool is and it isn’t what I thought it would be. Our breath.
From my research in the field of Psychology, Sports, Spirituality, Religion, Business, Philosophy, the Arts and more, this simple process of inhaling and exhaling is a universal tool for optimizing our ability to be effective and satisfied in our lives.
In my Enneagram studies, my teacher, Helen Palmer, really challenged us to develop a practice for tuning into our breath as a way to work with our personality structures, and relax them so we can be more than the limitations of our type. It is challenging to remember to use the breath when the way we are wired is to simply react.
I don’t profess to be an expert, but I do believe from now having put a great deal more effort into practicing using my breath as a tool for growth, that it is extremely worthwhile. I gain greater objectivity, less emotional intensity, expansion of possible ways to look at a situation, increased compassion for others, and an overall sense of calm and well being. This is cool stuff and it’s accessible to me anywhere, any time. I have a saying I tell myself – Conscious breathing, conscious living!
To learn more about how to work with your specific personality type and breath, check out this great Enneagram teacher, Peter O’Hanrahan.
It turns out, one size really does fit all when it comes to using our breath as a companion in growth!