In, out. Deep, slow. Calm, ease. Smile, release.

In2015, I fell on hard times. I was in a downward spiral; the worse things got, the more I obsessed over prior misfortunes. Eckhart Tolle calls this phenomenon “the pain-body”: a state of compulsively seeking turmoil, even if it means hurting others. Your pain-body thrives on conflict and misery, so it demands that you experience anger, shame, and hopelessness as viscerally as possible.

Tolle has explained the pain-body as follows:

It has two modes of being: dormant and active. A pain-body may be dormant 90 percent of the time; in a deeply unhappy person, though, it may be active up to 100 percent of the time. Some people live almost entirely through their pain-body, while others may experience it only in certain situations, such as intimate relationships, or situations linked with past loss or abandonment, physical or emotional hurt, and so on.

Anything can trigger it, particularly if it resonates with a pain pattern from your past. When it is ready to awaken from its dormant stage, even a thought or an innocent remark made by someone close to you can activate it.

When my pain-body took over, I began to relive painful memories.

This “intrusive re-experiencing” was excruciating.

I thought about the worst moments of my life hundreds of times every day.

Therapy and exercise helped, but I needed something else.

So, five years ago, I read You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment.

It’s kind of like a manual for day-to-day living, written by a Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh.

It helped, and I highly recommend it.

You can buy it online for $6.

What I want to highlight today is a meditation Hanh prescribes for people feeling overwhelmed. Some call it a “meditation poem.”

It’s very short:

In, out.

Deep, slow.

Calm, ease.

Smile, release.

Per Hanh’s instructions, I practiced reciting the poem in my mind while I breathed. As I inhaled, I would focus on the word “In.” As I exhaled, “Out.” Inhale, “Deep.” Exhale, “Slow.” You get the idea.

You don’t even have to worry about modulating your breathing.

In fact, Buddhist practice is generally to let your breath do what it wants to do during meditation.

But you will find that the mere act of monitoring your breath causes you to breathe gently.


When my thoughts were chaotic and unmanageable, Thich Nhat Hanh’s poem really helped me soothe my mind. I would sometimes imagine that I was inhaling cool air directly into my brain. I could relax, I could focus, and I could sleep better.

And you can breathe into any other source of tension in the body. Whatever ails you — your back, your joints, your stomach — try to inhale directly into the pain or discomfort.

You’ll find that you can manage the sensation, even if you still need medical care to treat the underlying cause.

Hanh’s meditation poem is the most portable life-enhancing tool I’ve ever encountered. It’s easy to memorize, and it’s very effective. You can incorporate it into your daily life without setting aside time for meditation, and I hope you will. My mind has been a calmer place since I did so.

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Source : Medium