I get a rash on my neck when I am stressed out. A friend of mine gets gallstones, and yet another gets a face full of acne that mars her beautiful countenace. These are all the manifestations of what I call the Combustibles, which include but are not limited to: angst, fear, worry, jealousy, rage, loneliness, despair, obsessive-compulsive thoughts. These combustibles spark a Babe’s natural tinder box and blows it sky high, causing her to do things that are not in her best interest.
No worries though. It is quite normal to feel these emotions. Babes are first and foremost, humans, and we do get into a funk from time to time, but lest we forget, we are no mere Babes. We are Tao Babes, and Tao Babes have the added arsenal of being able to control ourselves and to make our tinder box sparks work for us, to achieve our goals.
Control of the Combustibles start with breathing. When those Combustible thoughts begin to invade the private sanctity of our mind and our spirit, breathe, Baby, breathe!
There are many methods of breathing. Some are simple while others can be quite elaborate, but we Babes don’t do complicated stuff. That’s just not us. I simply sit somewhere comfortable, with my eyes partially closed and think about my breathing.
Now, we’re not trying to be a born-again Buddha, so we don’t have to do any breathing acrobatics. I just breathe as I normally do, through the nostrils, without attempting to control my breath or count sheep or do any tricks. I also try to become aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves my nostrils, and this sensation is my object of meditation. I try my best to concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.
At first, my mind buzzes with anger and hurt and jealousy and fear— all the most combustible emotions that I can pack into one concentrated bunch, and I actually even feel that the meditation is making my mind busier; but in reality I am just becoming more aware of how obsessed my mind actually is about all those Combustible emotions.
I get tempted to follow the different thoughts as they arise, but I try to resist this and remain focused single-pointedly on the sensation of the breath. Of course, I am only human, and sometimes, despite my best efforts, I still go off into that realm and start thinking about how much someone or something hurts me.
That’s quite okay. I am kind to myself and allow for those slip-ups to crop up on occasion, but I usually catch myself before I’ve gone too far with those thoughts, and I reign them in. I immediately still my mind and return it to the breath.
I’m a stubborn Babe, and quite literally, I would catch myself several times before my brain would stop torturing me with all those Combustible thoughts. When this happens, I don’t curse at myself for being such a weakling. It’s natural to feel a sick and twisted sense of joy at dweling on our jealousies and rage, but I regroup and refocus, and I allow myself the luxury of repeating the process of stilling the mind and focusing on the breathing for as many times as necessary until my mind settles on the breath.
Trust me on this, my fellow Tao Babes. If we keep up this exercise, gradually our Combustible thoughts will subside and we will experience a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Our mind will feel lucid and spacious and we will feel refreshed. And a calm and relaxed mind can then think through the problem or issue, and come up with brilliant solutions to that which gave rise to our worries to start with.
Breathing will also eventually cure our rashes, pimples, gallstones, and even begin to erase frown lines on our faces, something that a Tao Babe should try to cultivate, simply for the advantage of looking like a Babe for a mighty long time.