In the movie The Matrix, there’s a scene where the adept Morpheus effortlessly glides through throngs of people on a bustling city sidewalk while inept Neo bumbles and collides and apologizes. Flow and non-flow. Having no preferences, having no ego that requires constant monitoring and reinforcing, having a calm, untroubled mind, most of my life resembles Morpheus’ smooth navigation rather than Neo’s manic, pinball mode. When that flow is disrupted, even in a small way, I am acutely aware of it. I stop what I’m doing until I find the obstruction that caused the error. I make sure my breathing is deep and stable, my mind clear, and get myself back to the place of smooth, effortless functioning. The error itself doesn’t matter so much as eradicating or circumnavigating the source of the error. When something impedes flow, returning to smooth flow is the objective, not making a study of obstructions.
Everyone navigates in this higher mode to one degree or another, and anyone can learn to do it better and more often. Actually, most people would function a lot more smoothly and easily a lot more of the time if they’d just learn to breathe correctly. Practically everyone restricts their breathing to the upper part of the lungs, so that the chest expands and not the belly. The result of this shallow breathing is that we operate in a perpetual panic mode, as if all of life was a fight-or-flight situation. This causes the mental state of dis-ease that we accept as normal and from which we seek escape through addictions and distractions. It disrupts our activity during the day and our rest at night. When we breathe into our entire lungs by expanding the diaphragm, we automatically create a mental state of composure and ease, which is then reflected in our environment.
How telling is it that we are a society of people who don’t even know how to breathe? Hello? At what more basic level could we possibly fail? And what’s more than that, how telling is it that when we are made aware of this crippling flaw, most of us will do absolutely nothing to correct it because our vanity won’t allow us to expand our tummies?