One of the necessities of Life for we humans is breathing. We can go for days without food and even quite a while without water, but air/breathing, not so much. Then why is it that breathing, how we take in air, is one of the last things we consider when any part of our health goes bad? it’s an interesting question and one I want to explore with you here.
With each breath we take, part of the external world, even the Universe, is brought into direct contact with the most intimate parts if our bodies. Stop and think about that for a moment…. It explains why throughout history mystics and great teachers have taught that proper breathing and exercise is the quickest and best way to bring yourself into harmony with the Universe.
From an occult or mystical perspective, whenever we inhale a breath of air we are not only partaking of the atmosphere but also “mystical” energies which have been called by many names such as prana, chi, ka/ba, vitality and more. I choose to refer to it as “chi”.
So what is chi? It’s an omnipotent source of power that is the unifying force behind all other energy sources in the known Universe such as heat, light, electricity, magnetism, or even nuclear energy. It’s possible to harness this energy through breathing, meditation and visualization and thus accumulate and manifest such things as good health for ourselves.
Again speaking from a mystical or occult perspective, when we breathe, we are dealing with the element of air. Air, along with the other three basic elements, is correspondent to one of the seven chakras in our bodies. In this case, we are speaking of the heart chakra. When you stop and think about it, that makes sense since the lungs are in the same general area as the heart.
Each chakra has a basic principle that governs its energetic pattern. For the heart, that principle is equilibrium and that which has equilibrium has longevity. When we enter into a state of equilibrium/balance with ourselves, our relationships, and our environment, we enter into a sense of serenity and peace. This state of balance allows our hearts to beat in unison with the heartbeat of the web of life. This then opens the door to having the Universe to assist and guide us in all that we do.
And it all begins with each breath we take…
I won’t go on and on about breathing exercises that exist to help you breathe better or the many other factors about the heart chakra – such as the principle of love and its importance in our lives – but I will ask the question, “How do you breathe?”
Many of us are considered shallow breathers. Huh? Yes, I said shallow breathers. That’s when only the upper lung us vented leaving the lower portion of the lung filled with stagnant, contaminated air. It’s always been attributed to the elderly, heavy smokers, people with lung disease such as emphysema, and the dying. The truth is many of us fit none of these designations and still our breath is shallow. Why?
I would like to give you some “food-for-thought” based on some of my own experiences. Psychologically, knowing that when you breathe in you are taking in the outside world deep into the most intimate parts of your body, if the “world” hasn’t been the kindest to you, would you not seek to limit the amount of that outside world you allowed inside yourself for fear of more tragedy befalling you? I would have to say, “Yes.” If you have been in situations where you literally held your breath, fearing the outcome, then you have set yourself up to be a shallow breather.
Becoming even a middle or ordinary breather, where the top two-thirds of the lungs are vented , would require you to consciously set aside any fears you hold about history repeating itself so that you can automatically take in more air and become more balanced with the world around you. This type of breathing is associated with normally healthy people, manual laborers, and those who are involved in serious exercise. That doesn’t mean the ordinary breather never experiences setbacks or negative events in their lives. It means they don’t allow those events to discourage them from engaging with the outside world. They have less fear of things repeating themselves.
The ultimate goal would be to become a deep breather. Here, the entire lung is exercised and cleaned. The belly of the deep breather flares out like a beer belly. This is the healthiest type of breathing and does take training to do automatically. Yoga, tai chi, and breathing exercises can help with this, but even just taking notice of your breathing on a regular conscious level can help to change the way you breathe.
Using my own breathing as an example, I found I quit breathing when I’m concentrating deeply on something. Strange, huh? Well, once I realized I was doing that I made myself aware of when and under what circumstances it was happening. I would then take a few moments and take three deep breaths to oxygenize my blood and brain before continuing on with what I was doing. You’d be surprised how you “wake up” when doing that. You don’t need as much caffeine in your life because you are using oxygen to activate your brain and stimulate your body. Amazing!
Briefly, one last thing. Smell, attributed to the element of air, can affect us and our breathing as well. If something is offensive, you hold your breathe as opposed to something smelling wonderful, like a baking apple pie or cookies, where you find yourself taking a deep breath in order to savor the smell. So smell does matter. Aromatherapy has proven this with its rise in popularity for healing of body, mind, and spirit.
So, pay attention to smells, to the air, and to your own breath. If you’re not inclined to do breathing exercises, at least make it a point to notice your breathing. When does your breathing get shallow? Are there circumstances where you find yourself holding your breath? When do you take a deep breath?
Do that much and I think you will see some things change in your life. I know I did in mine.