Yes, a 3-second Detox. “How can that be possible?” I hear you say, what about all the raw-juicing, hot-yoga, essential-oil-massage, remove-yourself-from-the-world-for-3-weeks detox programmes? If that’s what it takes for me to detox years of processed food, city living and stressed lifestyle, then how on earth can 3 seconds make any difference?
Actually it makes all the difference in the world – your world. Because you are here – in the city, in the middle of your stressed lifestyle, eating as well as you can manage on a regular basis, doing the very best you can under the circumstances. If you had 3 weeks and a couple of grand you’d already be off in Bali soaking up the sun, the massage and the superfruits and you’d feel great, you really would. But you still have to come back – to the city, to stress, to daily life. That’s why the 3-second Detox is a miracle – because we can do it here, now, anytime – literally, it doesn’t cost a penny and there are NO barriers to entry.
It goes like this: Take a breath in; take your attention inside; notice what’s going on; breathe out. That’s it – 3 seconds. Of course you can double up, or triple up, or spend an hour a day doing this – in which case you can call it Vipassana, Mindfulness, or Zen Meditation – but at its simplest it is just one breath. We can all spare one breath – right?
One breath to release our mental hold on the day; one breath to come home to our bodies, one breath to let go all the distraction outside and come back to ‘me’; one breath of pure Grace, just because. Each breath is a gift to the world: what am I offering with that gift? My distraction, frustration, anger and unhappiness? Or my awareness, my presence, my knowing that in each breath I make a choice to be ME. If I’m feeling super-loving and happy then my breath can offer Love to the world too, but don’t make that a requirement, or your goal, this world is very happy when we just spend a moment being who we are: Human Be-ings, not Human Do-ings!
How many times have we all resolved to eat better, live better, exercise more and so on? We do it for a while and then fall back into habits that we know aren’t the best for our health and wellbeing – why? Because much of the time we are driven by all the inner stuff we haven’t really faced yet, which is nothing more nor less than the ‘Encounter with the Shadow’ that we’re being sold these days. It sounds terrifying doesn’t it, something to be put off for as long as possible, until it becomes unavoidable. Which is unfortunate, because at that stage we may be running short on the resources we need: insight, objectivity, compassion and a decent dose of humour.
The ever-present miracle of the Breath offers us the opportunity in every moment to pause; notice; be. And such moments taken frequently enough begin to weave a more consistent thread of self-awareness, of noticing how the pressures inside drive our behaviour, of listening to and honouring one’s Self with every breath. Until we find that faced with the pressure of daily life, we have sufficient presence to make better choices: to say ‘No’ when we mean no, to ask for help when we need it, to honour our real needs as a Human Be-ing.
Of course I will happily embrace the 3-week Bali retreat when I’m offered one, but in the meantime I’ll keep working with the 3-second Miracle Detox: breathe in; take the attention inside; notice what’s going on; breathe out. Isn’t that joyfully simple, and simply joyful? I like simple!