We human beings have lost confidence in the body knowing what to do. If we have time alone with ourselves, we panic and try to do many different things. Mindful breathing helps us to relearn the art of resting. Mindful breathing is like a loving parent cradling a baby, saying, "Don't worry, I'll take good care of you; just rest.
Your breathing is a stable, solid ground where you can take refuge. No matter what thoughts, emotions, and perceptions are going on inside you, your breath is always there, like a faithful friend. Whenever you're carried away by thinking, overwhelmed by strong emotions, or feeling restless and dispersed, return to your breathing. Bring body and mind together and anchor your mind. Become aware of the air coming in and going out of your body. With awareness of the breath, our breathing naturally becomes light, calm, and peaceful. At any time of the day or night, whether you're walking, driving, working in the garden, or sitting at the computer, you can return to the peaceful refuge of your own breath.
At any moment, we can say this small poem to ourselves and take a mini-rest. This poem is like a tiny vacation, except that it brings you back to your true home instead of taking you away from it.
Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
You can even shorten this poem; it works just as well:
Thich Nhat Hanh