What is the breath?
On my journey, I came to know that breath is indeed something crucial but not in the sense we all know like without it we would die...
... it goes much much deeper.
The time I was in strong Kundalini activation, I felt a lot of things very clearly and my strongest experience with breath was the following:
I experienced and therefore realized that there is something within us that actually breathes us. That is a very strange feeling to genuinely sense and I felt it only on a few occations when meditating in class.
I was sitting there, breathing and then feeling that underneath my „effort“ of breathing, there is another breath! Two breaths being breathed but not in harmony... yet.
The other breath was much wider and therefore slower and without any effort. So, there I was: Sitting with that one breath just happening while „doing“ breathe as I am used to since birth: Inhaling oxigen, exhaling it out again.
But the other breath seemed to work without that approach!! It just expanded and contracted on it’s own and without the need for oxigen to do so!
Let us first look at the facts we have about breath:
First and foremost:
- Stop breathing and you die
- He nourishes all our cells
- He has an immense influence on our nervous system
- He can push up or lower our pulse, our heartbeat
- He flattens and gets faster when we are emotionally aroused
- He becomes deeper and slower when we are in a calm state
- As soon as you fall asleep and therefore slipping into unconscious, your breath becomes deeper, calmer on it’s own
- Spiritual practices like Yoga asana and Meditation have a strong focus on breath
What are sayings and what are we associating with breath?
- When dying, we exhale our soul with the last breath
- When feeling stressed, we say: „I don’t have room to breathe“
- Something can leave as breathless (the moment you forget your conscious breath...)
- When watching movies about people getting a spirit or, negatively quoted, getting possessed, you most surely will see it in images showing a kind of breath entering through the mouth
- The opposite: Showing in pictures that someone is dying would be shown as a breath, like a cold wind, leaving through the mouth
And breath – last but not least – comes from the latin word Spiritus...
When sensing "my" and that "other" breath so deeply, I realized that this „other“ breath I recognized for the first time belongs to my Soul or Higher self. Hence, I’ll go on with my contemplation:
Spiritual practices with breath are so much more than just a tool for calming down your mind. They are actually leading a way to get „in tune“ with the breath of your Spiritual self and therefore with all of your Spirit.
Since that incident, I also felt how often I am actually destracted by my "conscious" breath when meditating. It sometimes feels like: If only I had not to breathe, I would much easier get to that state of absolute silence. And I realized the importance of breath work including Kumbhaka, the retention of the breath - it helps you to connect to your soul-breath in asking you to leave it to your inner most being when sensing the need to inhale again or exhale.
But at the beginning, I was irritated by that other breath. But only, because I realized with all clarity how much my... let’s call it mind-breath was forced and faked by me... Although, saying „by me“ is assuming that the other one is not „me“ and therefore something alien, thus something to be feared!
That could freak one out but luckely, helpful insights always come along such experiences:
The „me“ being irritated that moment was/is my Ego-me. The „thing“ I had a glimpse of for the very first time that clearly was/is my Soul-me.
For me, the Ego equals mind and is also of importance. My feeling is that the goal is to get Soul and Ego to work together.
Let me get this clearly across: You don’t have to „kill“ your Ego because it is something „bad“ in order to be a Spiritual person!! Be careful with that... it can be a dangerous attempt as again - for me, Ego equals mind and you don’t want to lose your mind along the way...
Problem is, it is very hard for your Ego to recognize that there is something else next to it (as it has the upper hand since decades). That is the reason why you – most of the time – have to come to a point were you nearly lose it, that Ego/mind. Better to lose it in a moment of utter awe thanks to something beautiful than in a state of hitting rock bottom...
The other „you“, the Soul-you just IS without being pushy like the Ego, without howling around, never needy... so there has to be nearly NOTHING of Ego in order to see SOMETHING of Soul...
But, hurray!!! Actually, the two of them are good friends and the only thing that stands between them is thought!
False thought. False assumptions. Conditoned thoughts etc. etc. and thoughts leading you too much off the present moment.
The trick is therefore: We have to USE our mind to get masters of our thoughts and we have to get to KNOW our Soul in order to first of all distinguish between them and eventually get them to work together.
Don’t fight your Ego, your mind. But ask it to step aside because you actually want to have for the first time a direct view on that other mate he’s hiding since ages behind his back...
Say hello to that new friend you’ve always sensed but have never seen before! You two will have a lot to talk about, so much to catch up!
But don’t push your other friend, the mind, aside because it is actually quite dangerous: You might lose him...
Better to ask him to help you to get to know that new friend a bit more. He might have a lot of information about the Soul! LISTEN to him without making your false assumptions (conditioned thoughts) already and ask him to help you state the right questions. And then let your Soul hear the answers...
And in the end: Treat both of them equally so that they are happy to work together in a friendly environment – you.