Most of us have some desire to maintain a forward momentum in life. We say to ourselves that we must mow the yard today, or, if a little older, finally schedule that long delayed colonoscopy. And there is that friend, long out of mind, that one should reach out to today, as it is her birthday. For all of us, a reminder to do what needs doing is a real help.

But the question, “If not now, when?” may be applied to something else. And then one might even say that it is the most important question of all. It is about now. Not now, this month, or now, this day. It is about now, this breath. This, breath, and the attention that I might give to it.

One can read books, go on a retreat, go to hear someone speak who has some special quality of presence. While all of this can be valuable up to a point, finally it all really means very little. What really matters is that I come to some quality of awareness at this moment.

One ceases the narrative of the turning thoughts, and allows the attention to descend with the in breath down into the body. Each in breath is like a boat, slowly descending down into the body, flowing downward. The attention is the passenger, residing in the boat. The effort is to embark, to allow my attention to board each breath and take passage. At the end of the inbreath, the attention disembarks, spreading outward throughout the whole body, taking possession of the far shores of every part of myself while the breath moves back upstream as I exhale. Then, the repetition. While walking and talking, while doing the dishes. I come to out of the narrative of my constant dreaming and again embark, and then disembark. There is no need for self-improvement, only to embark and disembark and repeat. It is the main thing.

Of course the attention will not always need the assistance of the breath, for it comes to know the lay of the land, and can then remain longer within the body. If this were to occur over a long enough time a Friend may be encountered within, one who has been there all along. But first I must begin where I am. Here, now.

Applicants for wisdom, do what I have done, inquire with.
     — Heraclitus

Comments are welcome​.



  1. “… attention to board each breath and take passage…” How perfect.

  2. Thank you, Kathy, your comment is much appreciated. Dennis

  3. Such a beautiful meditation….perfect for this morning as I head to the Grove of the Patriarchs on Mt. Ranier; perhaps as I breathe, I will breathe for the ancient ones, and perhaps they will breathe me. I’ll take you along….

  4. Yes, we shall be two travelers climbing. The old trees, the few remaining, are more sacred than any church. Be well, dear friend.

  5. Once again…thank you~

  6. 🌷

  7. Recognition, reunion, wonder. With deep gratitude.

  8. Yes, and thanks so very much for your comment, it is most appreciated, Dennis

  9. Welcome back Dennis:) Once again your imagery is so palpable; I keep revisiting. I’ve been focusing much on breath and breathing this past year or so, and this brings it in to such an elemental level: I am my breath. I breathe therefore I am. Simply stunning. My daughter gave me a book last Christmas called “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art” (James Nestor). I was immediately “hooked” as the Introduction quite honestly took my breath away! Thank you for always introducing new thoughts I need to have with myself:)

  10. Thank you very much, Debbie. I appreciate your kind words. As you continue your research into breath, perhaps ponder a question, also. It is do I breathe or am I breathed? Perhaps we are assisting a process in ways that we don’t understand. Best wishes, Dennis

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