Wonder is as close as our next breath. Mindful breathing can help us discover awe in the present moment. Incorporating mindfulness into our breathing can also relieve stress and help us concentrate – both of which strengthen our ability to notice wonder.
Our breathing is a God-given gift that not only sustains us physically, but also can bless us spiritually. The word “inspire” comes from the Latin word “inspirare” (which means “to breathe or blow into or upon”). Jesus tells us in John 3:8 that the Holy Spirit (who inspires us) is like a wind.
As we step into the busy rhythm of our fall routines, stress from time pressures can creep up on us. We can use mindful breathing to manage that stress in ways that lead us to wonder. Mindful breathing is simply focusing our attention on our breath and noticing its natural flow. Practicing that with the intention of seeking inspiration from God welcomes wonder into our lives.
I once felt overwhelmed by time stress in the most ironic of places to feel that way: The Royal Observatory Greenwich. Clocks calculate the official time for all of Earth’s different time zones from that observatory in England. My family and I had visited on a whim, without planning enough time to see everything there. While rushing and multitasking, a grandfather clock’s loud chimes startled me, and I started hyperventilating. As I describe in my book Wake Up to Wonder, it was mindful breathing that helped. The wonder of the present moment opened fully around me, like a beautiful flower blooming, as peace settled in my soul. I thanked God through a breath prayer – a prayer brief enough to be expressed in the few seconds it takes to exhale.
Whenever you could use a fresh dose of wonder, take a fresh breath and ask God for inspiration!