One Breath at a Time

Luang Por Pasanno • June 2012

Distributing the daily work assignments seemed a bit complicated today. That’s the nature of organizing many people living together. When there is one person living in one place, it’s fairly simple. With two people it’s a little harder, and it gets exponentially more complicated as the number of people increases.

For this reason, we need to learn the skills of living together, so that our own interactions and how we relate to each other don’t get overly complicated. In general terms, as practitioners, it is essential that we cultivate the quality of simplicity in the ways we relate to things. In reality, there is one moment at a time, and we take one step at a time when we do things. It’s not all that complicated.

But the mind tends to leap forward toward proliferation, so we need the patience to step back and ask ourselves, What do I have to deal with right now? Mostly all we have to deal with right now is breathing in and breathing out. There’s not much to do. If there is a task to be done, then we can learn how to apply patience and attention to it. We put attention on what we are doing, the way it impacts the people around us, and the circumstances we are in.

As we do this, we realize that the morning has passed, another day has moved on. Very simple. We can recall this quality of simplicity as we pay attention to the reactions in the mind, the moods that keep popping up, and the proliferations that keep hounding us. We can remember: One breath at a time, one step at a time. It’s all very uncomplicated and there’s not much to be done.