“Did you sense the air you breathed out was one degree warmer than the air you breathed in?”
On the 3rd day of a Vipassana mediation course, we focused on sensations of the tiny area between nostrils and upper lip. Theoretically, the air we breathe out is a little warmer, maybe only 1°F warmer, than the air we breathe in because our body temperature is always warmer. It should be easier to sense it in colder weather, but it is more difficult to sense it indoors or in normal or warmer weather.
It took me pretty much no time to physically sense a 1° warmer air. Interestingly, I realized that it is very easy to mentally notice if people add 1° of warmth to their voice, words or gestures in their interactions with other people.
1. Warmth in words in daily life
Lets me give an example:
Imagine you want to say yes when a colleague invites you to have lunch together tomorrow…
Your Colleague: Do you want to have lunch together?
You (can agree with slightly different answers)
- Awesome! I will absolutely come.
Do you sense different warmth with the different answers? I have a colleague who often says, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” You certainly can sense the warmth.
2. Warmth in voices in daily life
This is also easy to understand in daily life. A company trained their employees to be 1° warmer in their voices for business. For instance, when you call them, they pick up the phone with a neutral or calm “Hello,” and after you tell them your name, the employees immediately add warmth in their voice with either smiles or use more excited voices. In this way, they make you feel that you are very welcomed.
3. Warmth in body languages in daily life/work
Warmth in body languages in daily life is very common. It is easy to sense temperature in comparing these two scenarios:
- a person talks with you and reads his phone simultaneously;
- the same person talks with you with a warm gaze into your eyes and his body slightly leans forward to you.
Warmth of body languages is even more important at work. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, brought up the idea “Lean In” to encourage women to lead more. In fact, “lean in” is a body language to show your participation, warmth and even passion.
Note, warmth is the vehicle of love and positivity
We all want to be positive people; however, this thought is like a New Year Resolutions, easier to say than to do. When I say I want to be healthier, it barely means anything most time. However, if I say I will run a 2K every morning in gym, it becomes easier. It’s easier to manage an idea if it’s connected to a concrete practice.
Similarly, it is very hard to “be positive” or “be with Metta” without any concrete practices. The easiest practice might be to add 1° of warmth in our words, voice and body languages. Or, just add 1° of frequency of the warmer words, voices and body languages. In other words, words or voice or body language are vehicles that we mindfully deliver the warmth and positivity.
My daily practice on “1° warmer”
After I understood this, I started my mindful daily practice on 1° of warmer.
- When it is time to say “OK”, now I mindfully say “Yes”; when it is time to say “Yes”, now I say “Yes, yes” or “yes, absolutely”.
- I started to add smiles into my voice more often, even when I’m on the phone.
- When I listen to other people, I lean forward 1° to show my attention.
P.S. The first time I met people who practiced vipassana meditation at Dhamma Center, the most impressive thing to me is their eyes. Their eyes projected stable warmth, which radiated deeply to the soft spot in my heart. “I want those warm eyes.” My practice with meditation is always warmer by this simple goal.