The Healing Power of Spiritual Breathing
by Dan Brulé
In the beginning, we are told, “was the word,” but behind the word is an even greater power: the breath. Have you noticed that words are simply specific formations, shapes and movements of breath?
In the end days, it is said: all the secrets and mysteries will be revealed. Those end days must be approaching, because today, the breath itself seems to be revealing those secrets to us. It seems that the secret of life has been right under our nose all the time!
But it should come as no surprise, since almost every spiritual teacher throughout time has pointed to the breath in some way, and every contemporary healer makes use of the breath at some point.
Almost all the ancient languages use the same word for air, wind or breath, as they do for life, vital energy, or spirit; or the animating principle of life. This principle, this spirit of life, is called chi, ki, prana, or energy.
The breath is often overlooked and underestimated in our search for the source and meaning of life, yet the author of Genesis tells us tells us that “God took the dust of the earth and formed the body or man, and breathed into the nostrils of man the Breath of Life, and man became a living soul.”
So, is it any wonder that today, we can find our way back to God, we can meet the source of life by turning to the breath–or more specifically–to what is referred to in the Book of Genesis as neshemet ruach chayim: “the spirit of life within the breath”?
The author of Genesis understood something that the yogis have been teaching since early times: that there is a difference between the air we breathe and the life giving principle contained within it. This inner breath also called chi, ki, prana or energy runs through body, mind and soul. In German, the word Atman means both soul and breath.
The movement of spirit in the body is reflected in the movement of breath. As the Sufi Master Hazrat Inayat Kahn writes: “The healing power of Christ, the miraculous power of Moses, the charm of Krishna, and the inspiration of the Buddha–all these were attained by breath.”
The Course in Miracles teaches us that: “A universal theology is impossible, but a universal experience is not only possible, it is necessary.” I believe that this universal experience is the breath, is breathing!
In the Nei Ching: Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Chinese Medicine, we read: “In ancient times, there were the so-called spiritual men; they mastered the universe, and controlled yin and yang. They breathed the essence of life and were independent in preserving the spirit. Their muscles and flesh remained unchanged.
In his Book of Secrets, Rajneesh/Osho writes: “”If you can do something with breath, you will attain the source of life. If you can do something with breath, you can transcend time and space. If you can do something with breath, you will be in the world and also beyond it.” He said: “there are certain points in the breathing which you have never observed, and those points are the doors, the nearest doors to you, from where you can enter into a different world, into a different being, a different consciousness…”
I believe that Spiritual Breathing is to psychosomatic illness what penicillin was to infection. Spiritual Breathing is the quickest way to clear your head, settle your stomach, calm your nerves, and open your heart. It will uplift you, center you, and ground you in your being. Spiritual Breathing opens your heart to love and fills your body with light and life.
In the Songs of Solomon, we read “Breath restores me to my exact self.” Maybe that’s why one of the most powerful modern spiritual breathing methods is called “Rebirthing.” It offers us a spiritual technology of awakening to our essence.
It seems to me that the breath is the fire of the heart–the heart of love. The Quakers have a wonderful tradition. At their Sunday service, people simply sit in silence and meditation, waiting, open to inspiration. And when it comes, when the spirit moves them, they speak. They say their piece (peace). They also hold this great idea: “Now and then, you need to open all the doors and windows of your heart and soul, and you need to let the spirit of God blow through you!”
Breathwork is a spiritual technology for purification and awakening. When you work with the breath, you automatically develop spiritual skills. To play with breath is to play with the subtlest form of matter. That’s why people who have mastered spiritual breathing can accomplish so much on the level of subtle energies.
Spiritual Breathing makes it clear that the original creative life force energy that built our bodies in the womb is still available to us, to maintain and even rebuild the body.
Yoga is the science of union (with God). And yoga holds as a central truth that Breath is the connection, the bridge between mind and body, between the visible and the invisible. Breath connects us to each other, and it connects all of us to God, nature and existence.
Every breath can be a prayer, an invitation, a demonstration of our faith, our trust. It can be an expression of forgiveness, gratitude and surrender. Tremendous power is to be gained through combining meditation and breathing. In the mid 70s, I was inspired by Richard Alpert (Ram Dass). He taught us to practice a beautiful spiritual breathing technique: On the inhale we think “the power of God is within me,” and on the exhale we think “the grace of God surrounds me.”
Each of us must walk his/her own unique path. And that is the empowering aspect of Breathwork: no one can do it for you! Yet, we are all breathing the same breath. The breath that is in me now was in you before, will be in the bird flying overhead tomorrow, was in the dog walking down the street yesterday. It is not just a philosophy. It is a fact in reality! The same atoms and molecules of air, the breath that Jesus breathed, Moses breathed, Buddha breathed, that same breath is flowing into you right now!
If you really want to go into the deepest realities of life, and to reach the highest states of consciousness, then you will have to awaken to the breath. It is the path, or at least the doorway, to your essence, your core, your soul, your heart of hearts.
Breath and breathing techniques are now being taught all over the world. Breath awareness leads to the healing of stress, emotional problems, substance abuse, to the healing of unconscious, blocks, fears, and anxieties.
The Angel of Breath is at work on the planet! This Angel of Breath brings fire and light to everyone on the spiritual path. Evolutionary contractions in the form of natural disasters, social upheaval, and wars, are doing the work of pushing spiritual seekers out of their comfort zone and into the dynamic working zone of spiritual awakening, purification and rebirth.
It seems to me that everyone is born a spiritual master. But we forget, we lose touch with our essence, our purpose, our source. The sadness, anger, and the love of a child is total: it seems infinite. That is a reflection of the power and nature of their spirit. As children, we are forced to choose between following outer authority and listening to our inner divinity.
You can begin to incorporate the life of spirit back into your body and being. Simply breathe in a conscious way. Practice breathing in a peaceful way, an accepting way, a trusting way, a loving way, a grateful way, a forgiving way, an inviting way, a surrendering way. Incorporating these attributes through spiritual breathing makes manifesting them in reality easy and effortless!
More than knowing, believing or doing it, when you are breathing it, you are “living” it. You are “being” it. Opening and relaxing the breath is like opening the doors to your soul. Allow every fiber of your being to be bathed in this life that flows from God. Spiritual breathing has been called a biological experience of divine energy.
It takes courage to live a unique life, an inspired life. It requires that you turn to your own inner truth. That inner truth can be reflected and expressed through every breath you take. Breathing is like a language: the language of the soul.
Spiritual Breathing can take you to the eye of the storms in your life. Spiritual breathing can help you to balance yin and yang, peace and power, rhythm and harmony. Learn from the breath itself. Follow your own bliss!
Start by watching your breath. Do what the Buddha did at the moment of enlightenment: follow the breath as it comes and goes. Feel the sensations of breath, the movement of breath in you. Be a witness. Observe, notice, pay attention to what is happening inside of you in each moment, and be aware of the one being aware!
Add to that the willingness to let go, to surrender. And then begin to conspire with the life that surrounds and permeates everything in existence. Breathe consciously. Feel the expansion and contraction of life! Celebrate the flow of life, and marvel at the mysteries that life reveals to you through the breath.
Seek out others who are committed to breath mastery. Share your experience. No one is free until we are all free. But if only one of us gets free, everyone will be liberated!
Breathe peace and love, freedom and safety, energy and aliveness, love and light. And watch the world within you and around you change forever.
You are Invited to Discover, Explore and Develop the Power and Potential of Spiritual Breathing.