I discovered upon meditating, that when I am at the top of my breath and inhaled completely and it is time to let go, that is where there is some hesitation. At times, it's more than a hesitation. Sometimes I’m actually holding my breath - waiting, waiting to finish a thought, an idea, an internal dialog, argument, or connect the dots of disparate thoughts. It is in this moment of letting go that often, I don’t; I don’t let go at all.
Nature has a way of forcing the issue and the exhale will come, as it must. And I may let go with a huff, or with cautious yielding but I will let go. But then, at some point during the exhale, the letting go feels so good as the muscles relax, my body sinks into the chair, and relaxation takes over. As I think it over now, what prevents me from letting go and feeling better sooner?
This plays out in life in a multitude of ways. When I start to get tired, for instance, I take myself to the kitchen and surf for something to stimulate myself awake. It is not something healthy I’m looking for. At the same time that I am looking to stimulate myself awake, I am simultaneously using the food to push something — or many somethings — down. It’s hard to stop that once it is triggered. It’s a restless eyes-wide-opened sleep. I’m on automatic. It’s not over until I’ve eaten. This dining experience is not a pretty sight. It involves a lot of standing with the fridge or freezer door open and consuming one thing while scanning for the next target until I’m satiated. There are no long-flowing exhales during this experience. There is a rapid succession of trying to fill myself so I do not have to feel. And then, rather disgusted with myself, I can sleep unsatisfied and satiated at the same time.
As I think now of the pleasure I experience at the end of the exhale, being fully relaxed, I look forward to the top of the inhale and seamlessly into the exhale. There is no need to hold it or stuff it down with food. Instead, there is actually JOY in letting it go.