Pause Practice by Pema Chodron

Pause Practice by Pema Chodron


Our habits are strong, so a certain discipline is required to step outside our cocoon
and receive the magic of our surroundings. Pause practice—taking three
conscious breaths at any moment when we notice that we are stuck—is a simple
but powerful practice that each of us can do at any given moment.


Pause practice can transform each day of your life. It creates an open doorway to
the sacredness of the place in which you find yourself. The vastness, stillness, and
magic of the place will dawn upon you, if you let your mind relax and drop for
just a few breaths the story line you are working so hard to maintain. If you pause
just long enough, you can reconnect with exactly where you are, with the
immediacy of your experience.

When you are waking up in the morning and you aren’t even out of bed yet, even
if you are running late, you could just look out and drop the story line and take
three conscious breaths. Just be where you are! When you are washing up, or
making your coffee or tea, or brushing your teeth, just create a gap in your
discursive mind. Take three conscious breaths.

Just pause.

Let it be a contrast to being all caught up. Let it be like popping a bubble. Let it be
just a moment in time, and then go on.

Maybe you are on your way to whatever you need to do for the day. You are in
your car, or on the bus, or standing in line. But you can still create that gap by
taking three conscious breaths and being right there with the immediacy of your
experience, right there with whatever you are seeing, with whatever you are
doing, with whatever you are feeling.