Nine Deep Breaths to Peace – the 9 to 1 Technique
It’s now common knowledge that the mind affects the body in many powerful, and sometimes negative ways. A stressed mind can literally sicken the body to the point of killing it by stroke or other illnesses. And we’re not talking about imagined illnesses either – New studies have even found links between stress and some forms of Cancer, so the relationship of mind over matter is much more direct and solid than most scientists were willing to accept.
But now, scientific studies have found a direct connection between thoughts and emotions and the stress hormone cortisol. It has now been proven that stress causes changes in hormones that in turn lowers the body’s immune system which causes people to get sick.
The old Masters have long understood the subtle and direct link between the Breath, the Mind, and the Body, and they tell us that when the Mind gets agitated, the Breath becomes shallow, fast, and short, and the Body becomes tense.
One important lesson the old Masters taught was that the reverse is also true: that if your mind is agitated and you slow down your breathing, your mind and body relax.
So the next time you feel angry, agitated, nervous, or just not-peaceful, use the simple 9 to 1 Technique:
Sit down if you can and close your eyes… then simply count from nine to one, taking a deep breath in and another deep breath out with each count. You don’t have to do anything but count each deep breath from 9 to 1 and when you count to 1, I guarantee that you’ll feel much more calm and relaxed than before.
When you get to 1, keep breathing at the rate that your body wants to breathe without controlling it. You’ll notice that it will now be an easy, slow, smooth and peaceful rhythm. Sit as long as you wish and enjoy your peace for as long as you like and then open your eyes and continue with your day.
This Tool alone can truly change your life as this is something you can do anytime anywhere. Even if you couldn’t find a place to sit, you could do it standing up, and if you can’t or don’t want to close your eyes, you can still do the 9 to 1 count-down with eyes open with good results.
You can use this method right before an important meeting or phone call, and if a phone call gets too stressful, you can tell the person you’ll have to call him back, or put him on hold, then do your 9 to 1 Technique and continue the call in a much more peaceful mood.
You may be thinking, “Why count from nine and not ten, or another number?” – Because nine slow deep breaths add up to about one and a half minutes, which has been found to be just the right amount of time to create the desired effect of calming your mind.
You could count from ten or more, but there is no need. Also, psychologically, counting down (9 to 1) calms the mind faster and more effectively than counting up (1 to 9). Your mind naturally associates counting downwards with relaxation and upwards with rousing, or waking up. We naturally count from 1 to 3 to start a race, for example.
Also, the number Nine is considered an auspicious number in Buddhism and traditional Buddhist Prayer Beads have 108 beads.
The number 108 can be broken down as (1 + 0 + 8 = 9)
Number 1 stands for God (Universal Consciousness), Higher Self, Truth
Number 0 stands for emptiness or completeness,
8 stands for infinity or eternity.
According to neuro-scientist Jill Bolte, any emotion that rises up within you only lasts 1.5 minutes – ninety seconds, (or 9 slow, deep breaths), but we prolong that time for as long as we feed it with our thoughts.
Here’s how it works: You get a negative emotion, so you start analyzing it, trying to figure out how to resolve it when in truth, the best thing you could do is nothing – just let it go. For example, you get a negative emotion, and you ignore it. You keep going about your business and it will fall away by itself. But as hard as it is to not scratch an itch, it may seem even harder not to start thinking about, (and trying to resolve) the negative emotion that just turned up.
The fact that many negative emotions begin with a thought or decision can make it much harder to realize that your mind is the one fueling the negative emotions and keeping them alive.
Imagine that your attention is energy, and this energy fuels the negative emotion simply by your connecting that energy to it and “linking” the energy source to it. Your attention is fuel for your thoughts and emotions as electricity is to a light bulb. The more you pay attention to the negative thought or emotion, the stronger it gets, and if you bring it out into the world by talking about it, it will get even stronger.
Sometimes you don’t even realize you were taken away for a mental ride until minutes, hours or even days have passed…
Here’s where the 9 to 1 Technique comes in:
Simply by counting 9 deep breaths, you disengage from the thought-stream that is trying to take you for a ride. Those 9 deep breaths bring you back to the present moment of now and pull you out of your mind long enough for that negative emotion to vanish on it’s own.
You don’t do anything to make the negative emotion go away, you simply ignore it long enough so it falls away by itself, naturally, and the 9 to 1 Technique is a very simple and powerful tool to do this.
But don’t let its simplicity fool you into thinking it’s not powerful. The most powerful tools are the simplest. The Buddha became enlightened with the simplest tool: Watching His Breath…
See also: Mindfulness Meditation