Reply To: Breath Prayers

  • Dan Hines

    April 3, 2023 at 9:56 pm

    Hi Nichelle, I use a breath prayer quite often these past years that is in breath mantra, ‘please’ and out breath mantra ‘thanks’. I wrote a poem and a reflection a few months back about this breath prayer that I am glad to post here for those interested.

    Twaiku 2 Two Words



    two words

    frame my life

    before i knew any word

    i pleaded

    first sharp breath

    from a warm aquatic home

    breathe in

    i need you


    as i die


    the other word


    what a ride!


    every other breath


    in and out




    Dan Hines 2022

    The psychologist Marshall Rosenburg revealed that if you listen carefully to anyone, you will hear two words.

    The first word is please. It is a request to for help, for understanding, or for collaboration. It is how I express what I need.

    The other word is thanks. It is a response to having a need met.

    Sometimes it is very hard to hear the words, beneath violent or aggressive communication. Yet, if I listen with an open heart, I can hear it.

    When I received this teaching from Marshall, I was aware that my first desperate breath at birth was ‘please’. Dependent and weak, my cry was a request for the care I will need to survive.

    I am also aware that I will let out a final breath. I have been present for this last breath in others. It is a release: a letting go. I pray to have the grace to be conscious at this moment and to be able to let my dying word be the only utterance possible: thanks.

    (Now, I practice these first and last breaths as a breathing meditation: please on the in and thanks on the out.)

    Reflection Questions:

    What ‘please’ am I ready to express? What request am I prepared to make?

    Where has gratitude arisen in my life in recent moments?

    How might I better express my ‘thanks’? And to whom?