Excellence Reporter: Dr. Vranich, what is the meaning of life?
Belisa Vranich: I teach The Breathing Class. I teach people how to breathe, really breathe, owing to the fact that our ability to breathe has devolved to the point that it is anatomically incongruous and causes tsunami size negative repercussions to our health. So maybe the best way to answer is by talking about how the meaning of life cannot be considered without the breath.
A life without conscious breath has no meaning because it has no present. It lives in the past and in the future. Breath is what ties us to the present, and as we try to be more “mindful” and “live in the present,” it is exactly the breath that provides the inroads to that experience. The experience of the here and the now.
Unfortunately, most people are truly only in the present when they sneeze. I find I get asked more than ever before what mindfulness is and how to be in the present. Even more than What is my purpose, How do I find my passion, and How can I be happy. The trends of questions people ask me when they come to therapy actually changes from year—and maybe that is why my practice has changed from psychodynamic psychotherapy, where we talk and problem solve, consider lineage, purpose and interpretation, to the most basic, and most satisfying of all human actions: breathing.
Whether you become aware of your breath during a yawn or a sigh, or when listening to a command from your coach to breathe, or when an interaction with another human leaves you breathless, or a moment of rare beauty or synchronicity takes your breath away, each inhale and exhale reminds of something that has been taken away by the beeping, blaring, honking, and buzzing of life.
Breathing and stopping to focus on the breath reminds us of all the things that make up the meaning of life: reflection, gratitude, solitude, connection, and wellbeing.
My advice: take as many breaths, as slowly as you can. Notice how they feel nourishing, comforting, and give you pause.
~Dr. Belisa Vranich, Clinical Psychologist, Author, Media Personality and Founder of The Breathing Class.
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Categories: Health & Wellness