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Remembering What Matters with One Breath

Bryan Liu
2 min read
Remembering What Matters with One Breath

Table of Contents

“Three, two, one, down we go,” the freediving coach announced. I took my last breath and dove down into the ocean.

This was my first time freediving, a diving sport that uses no air tanks and instead relies only on your lungs. My 10 year scuba diving experience prepared me very little for this because I always had air tanks and made diving a rather safe recreational water sport. But now, without the tanks, I have only 1 breath to dive down and back up. One mishap means drowning into the bottom of the sea.

As I dove into the ocean, I could sense the oxygen slowly depleting in my lungs the deeper I descended. When I felt my lungs were half way depleted, I turned around and prepared my ascension to the surface. But now, looking upwards, the surface looked much further than how my body registered the distance. Can I make it in time to the surface?

The gasp for air was real. My diaphragm was contracting and the urge to breathe was f-king suffocating. I kicked my fins to propel myself faster to the surface.

“Huuuah!” I gasped when I broke the surface, and the air had never tasted so refreshing.

One Breath, One Dive

As I was floating on the surface and returning back to normal breathing, I treasured this sense of weightlessness – the buoyancy of the ocean water carried my body, and the urge to preserve the one breath in my lungs shedded of all unnecessary thoughts and emotions. Freediving is not only an extreme sport, but it is also a spiritual moment to cleanse my mind and heart.

When I returned to shore and back to the dorm, I was savoring this transformative experience. Normally, I’d immediately reach out to my phone to share on all social media platforms my awesome diving experience. But this time, I resisted the urge because I enjoyed this sensation of “weightlessness”. I felt free. I felt in the present. And most profoundly, the epiphanies of what’s  important in my life surfaced one by one.

Air is precious, and as are all other necessities to ensure the living of my physical body. The quality of my relationships – with family, friends, and the world – becomes more important than quantity. And most importantly, time – specifically how I am spending it – became more treasured as I marched toward my late 30s. External expectations and rewards – that promotion, the title, the number in the bank account, the number of dates I’m getting, means much less now in comparison.

Remembering how much one breath mattered clears away the weights in the mind and reveals what truly matters in life.

Are you sinking by the weights of life? Do you remember what’s important in life?

Take a deep breath, and dive into the imaginary ocean with me. Remember how precious this one breath is. As you surface, let go of all the unnecessary weight you’ve accumulated.

Remember what matters.

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