About the “Breath” is a change of pace for me; an opportunity to look as close as I can at technique and maybe function in my spiritual practice. After all, what is more important than the breath? What changes you more quickly than learning how to do it, and then wanting to do it every day. The quote of Thich Nhat Hanh says a lot…to feel grateful for your heart, for what you have in life; to be conscious each time you breathe in and each time you breathe out. Reaching those high plateaus of thought and feeling often begins with just sitting where it’s quiet and starting whenever you need to feel what peace is again.
Breathing in, I am aware of my heart. Breathing out, I smile to my heart and know that my heart still functions normally. I feel grateful for my heart.
Thich Nhat Hanh
It begins with the relaxation of the abdominal cavity, letting it move smoothly downward and out; the muscle of the diaphragm taking its space, creating a vacuum which will automatically fill with the new breath. With the breath we touch the third chakra and then the fourth and fifth. Imagine, just by breathing deeply you can balance 3 chakras and they’re all important. To breathe like a yogi is to breathe deeply from the abdomen to the clavicle bone. When I begin at the third chakra it is me telling myself that now I want to touch inner feelings and motivations. When the breath fills the lung cavity I feel that I have a heart, a big one, and my thoughts about myself and about you change for the better. Later, if you concentrate hard enough and are able to fill your lungs almost to the shoulders, then inevitably you activate the fifth chakra and seeing things clearer becomes easier.
There are mechanics associated with breathing. You have to relax in a real way to breathe deeply. Muscles of the abdomen start the process and then the diaphragm, intercostal and to a lesser degree the pectoral and trapezius muscles tend to tense and expand. When you exhale, the reverse happens; these muscles relax and allow what was taken in to move out again. When you concentrate on mechanics you become aware of your own processes: what is it that might be impeding a full breath and what it takes to once again achieve the harmony of deep breathing. Getting to the point of deep harmonic breathing is a skill set that can be learned. It is effort focused on what is desired and that is rewarding. You gain peace of mind and you gain clarity, the two things you learn to appreciate and long for time and time again.
To breathe deep is to learn to meditate. Meditation is heightened awareness. Everything in my being becomes suddenly awake to everything that is part of me and outside of me. If I try not to judge the feelings that I am experiencing, I find myself gaining perspective; a wider view of people, places and things and that helps me to live my life in a more constructive and positive way. When you somehow stumble on finding greater perspective in your life, a higher sense of purpose for your life also comes along to bless you. You now ride the waves of your feelings in peace and a sense of well-being. Those emotions, however deep they may be, are part of you and you can smile at your reactions and move easily on to the next thing on your inner agenda. Pretty soon, you find yourself hardly worried or bothered by those old recurring thoughts. When I learn to expand my breath, I learn to expand my world view. It is intoxicating and it is necessary.
My breath is inextricably linked to my need to express myself, to say what I truly feel. That idea is often associated with the idea of our heart, taking notions and thoughts out of the exclusive range of our intellect and offering them to touch the intangible but strangely real world of inner feelings. A short breath produces less oxygen for the blood to move around and inevitably affects our reasoning capability since everything is tied together in this inter-connective world of our physical body. Supply more oxygen to the blood stream and the neurons in our brain begin to act differently. Perhaps, there are more synapses (neural connections), and we act less from memory and start to see possibilities that enable new ways of thinking. We find that an expanded chest cavity and a greater sense of our own heart, allows us to be more caring and selective with the words we choose to state how we are feeling, and then, to ask you the same questions with care and consideration.
To breathe is to learn to sing, and everyone wants to be able to sing to their heart’s content. With a deep breath as the key and learning to listen first, I find what for many people they didn’t know they possess. The ability to sing. The sound of my voice touches every fiber of my soul as it resonates inside changing molecules and adding to my sense of well-being. I learn that to project the full quality of my voice I must begin from the depths of my being, from down below, that same place where deep breathing begins in my abdomen. The chest cavity as well as the throat become channels for the sound of my voice to well up growing in timbre and strength. Maybe listening to the richness of one’s own voice and enjoying the sound is in effect listening to the musical spheres of the universe. We share in something that life shares with us, the experience of harmony. It is there for everyone to know and feel.
Wisdom is nothing but a preparation of the soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life.
Who doesn’t want to be considered wise, especially as you grow older? You and everyone else around you, expects you to gain something positive from your past and present experiences and then be able to share them in an enlightened manner. We are on a journey through life, it is a soul-journey. We are here to learn from everything that happens to us along the way on that journey. The hope is that a new way of looking at life will permeate every cell and dark corner of our being and shed light so that we might see what was once hidden from view. It is a divine promise that it should be so. With a deep breath we begin to intuitively know that such a promise exists. With practice, it becomes more and more real for us: we change for the better and everything around us changes in the same way. Vibration emanates from the quiet rhythm of the breath and interacts with the divine rhythm of the cosmic breath. There is a feeling, a knowing, and it is revealing. Start on your own journey to knowing and breathe in life. It is waiting for you.