The world of the ego is like the business world: it goes through cycles of boom and bust. We become elated (inflated) when someone praises us, or even if we merely think we are praiseworthy. Later in moments of doubt, or coming down from the drug of performance, we suffer post-partum depression, existential angst: What’s it all for?
The beauty of meditation practice is that all such cycles of high and low get reduced to the simple, most natural alternation there is: the rise and fall of the breath.
Distilled to such essence, the drama of our ego world, the anxiety about our portfolio, loses weight, even meaning. Which is not a bad thing, it’s the natural thing, what is true. What has true meaning is the precious gift of each small breath. The inbreath, the outbreath. The giver of this life, and the reminder of its transience.
When real meaning and drama is played out on so basic a stage, all the rest is optional. We go ahead, go out and drum up a storm of success, because we can. And when success inevitably gives way to loss, we follow that balancing with grace, and return to the breath.