Conscious Breathing and the Four Dimensions Awareness
In Chi Kung/Qigong, there is an old saying, an ancient teaching:
“Where consciousness goes, energy flows.”
Although it can be argued that they are not exactly the same, in general and for the sake of simplicity, I use these terms interchangeably: “awareness,” “attention,” “focus,” “consciousness.”
Also, I think of consciousness as energy: intelligent creative energy. If consciousness and energy are not one and the same, then they are at least intimately connected. And they are somehow inseparable. I also refer to energy as breath-energy: spirit, life-force, prana, ki, chi.
Now, when it comes to awareness and energy, we can focus or direct it in four possible ways or dimensions: internal, external, narrow, broad.
When we direct our attention inwardly or outwardly, or when we focus our awareness on one point, or when we expand our consciousness to include everything around us, we are also doing something with our energy.
Have you noticed that there are times when you can be so caught up in a thought, or some internal sensation or some emotion, that you are oblivious to the world around you?
Have you noticed that there are times when you are so focused on one thing in front of your eyes, that everything else in the world seems to disappear?
Have you noticed that you can also be so caught up in the world around you that you can forget about your inner world?
A pain in one part of our body can cause us to forget that the rest of our body actually feels quite fine. And we can become so caught up in our thinking that we can forget we even have a body!
The ability to focus on one thing and not be distracted by anything else is very important in life. And the ability to let go of a narrow focus or a single belief, and to expand our consciousness to include everything else is equally important.
Have you noticed that advertisers and news media, scam artists and street hustlers, and also people with pure and loving intentions, as well as the unconscious habits of your own system, are forces that can control and direct your energy and awareness?
In the course of life, there are times when we need to shift our awareness from the external to the internal (and vice-versa). And there are times when we need to gather our scattered energies and to focus our attention like a laser beam (and vice-versa).
And that’s where Conscious Breathing comes in!
We can use our breath to harness our energy and to direct our consciousness in these four ways or dimensions. Every breath offers us an opportunity to take control of our life-force: to focus our awareness or re-direct our energy.
When you breathe, you can send energy to a single organ, muscle, joint, or any particular part of the body. When you breathe, you can also distribute energy equally to all parts of you, to every cell of your body.
Conscious Breathing can anchor and center us in our body; it can also be used to expand beyond the borders of our skin. We can use the breath to transcend the ego and the emotional mind, to experience some amazing states of consciousness and some sublime spiritual dimensions.
In the next few lessons, I will be inviting you to use your breath to explore some of these creative possibilities…
Let’s start this spiritual journey into consciousness and energy with a very simple, basic, yet powerful tantric breathing technique or meditation.
(By the way, I consider Tantra to be the art of making love to life!)
We are going to use the breath to fill ourselves, to draw everything and everyone in the world into the inner-most core of our being.
And we are going to use the breath to empty ourselves of all that is within us, to pour every bit of ourselves out into the world.
Breathing in, taking everything and everyone into yourself…
Filling yourself with all that exists around you.
Breathing out, giving yourself to everyone and everything…
Emptying yourself of all that exists within you.
Breathing in, merging everything and everyone with yourself.
Breathing out, merging yourself with everything and everyone.
Take your time with this “cosmic breathing.”
Let the breaths be long and slow…
Be total. Put your whole being into the exercise.
Put real feeling and passion into the meditation!
Arch and curl your spine with each breath…
Use your arms and hands to express…
Close your eyes and visualize…
NOTE: Some breathers find that the universe flows into them and that they are filled during the exhale; and they feel they are expanding and that they empty themselves out during the inhale.
Experiment with it. Do what feels natural. Do what comes easiest to you.
In the end, as in the beginning, All is One!
We All exist in the One, and the One exists in us All!