As we near the end of this course, we have come to one of my favorite Breathwork techniques/exercises/meditations. I call it Spiritual Breathing.
It’s based on the fact that whenever energy and consciousness come together, something is created. That is the primary creative process: bringing energy and consciousness together. Spiritual Breathing means bringing the breath together with every other creative and functional aspect of ourselves: in body, mind, emotions.
There is another important principle that I first learned from Aikido, called “one-pointed-ness.” It means bringing mind and body together. When we do that, a powerful force emerges. (That’s how martial artists break bricks, and how skinny old guys can throw big young guys around the room with ease.)
With Spiritual Breathing, we bring together body, mind, and breath. And as a result, an even greater force emerges: a healing force, a creative force, a force for transformation!
To start, imagine yourself as the guest of honor at a grand buffet (perhaps in the Garden of Eden). A table overflowing with every kind of delicious and nutritious delight awaits your body, mind, and soul.
In America, we are big on sandwiches. And so I start with a slice of bread, and imagine moving down the table. I select and choose, pile and spread, build and stack all my favorite flavors, aromas, colors, textures. And when I’m done, I top it off with another slice of bread. And then, as I bite into this unique gastronomic masterpiece that I have created… Aahhhhh… Ecstasy!
One of the most popular sandwiches in the USA is called a club sandwich. Someone got the idea to put a third slice of bread right in the middle of the sandwich! And so in our practice, those slices of bread are the breaths. This is a breath-centered meditation, using Conscious Breathing in the beginning, the middle, and at the end of the practice.
Some of you may prefer to create a big bowl of stew, or a heavenly salad. That’s up to you of course, since you are the chef as well as the guest of honor; and everything is designed to serve and support and to please you!
Everything begins in consciousness. The computer you are using right now began as an idea in someone’s head. Look around. Anything that can be built or bought or touched must have first taken form in someone’s consciousness. And from there, it found its way out into physical reality.
This is true for everything in the world. And many people would say that the physical universe itself, along with you and I, and everything in it began as an idea in the mind of God!
Anyway, for us one thing is certain: the more passion… energy and consciousness… we put into whatever we imagine, intend, or aim to do, the more likely it is that we will create it, attract it, or succeed in doing it.
I just looked up “passion” in my thesaurus and got this list of words: “fervor, ardor, obsession, infatuation, excitement, enthusiasm, zeal, craze, delight.” And so, Spiritual Breathing is about focusing on a high spiritual principle, and then pouring as much passion as we can into it with every breath!
In Spiritual Breathing, the goal is to make each breath as thick and juicy as we can, as wholesome and delicious and delightful as possible. It means bringing every level of our being into the moment-to-moment practice and process of Conscious Breathing.
1. Thoughts: words, phrases, affirmations, statements, mantras, prayers… Mentally repeat a high frequency word or phrase with each breath. For example: “love,” “I am loved, I am loving;” “peace,” “I am peaceful;” “joy,” “I radiate joy;” “health,” “I am healthy; “freedom,” “I am always already free!” Choose any beautiful word or phrase, and breathe it into every cell of your body.
2. Images: create pictures in your mind, visual representations of the words or phrases you are focusing on. Imagine someone’s face, or a beautiful scene, or imagine a bright light or a beautiful color that fits the word or phrase that you have chosen. Images of loved ones: family and friends, teachers, role models come to me when I focus on love and peace and joy.
3. Sound: Children love to make sounds when they are playing or imagining something. Use breath sounds (oooh… ahhhh… eeeehh… ohhh… mmmm… ssshhh… aum… vrroom… etc! Make any enjoyable sound that resonates with the image or thought that you are playing with.
4. Movement: Move your body in some pleasurable way. Use your body to express and reflect what you are feeling and imagining. Do something with your hands and arms, your head, neck, eyes, spine… Let the breath move your body; and let your body move the breath.
5. Emotion: In the same way that you can generate a thought, an image or a sound or a movement, you can generate an emotion. Put feeling into the process! Gratitude is a very powerful emotion. And we don’t even need a reason to generate it. Be dramatic in your expression. Send a clear message to your subconscious… And leave no doubt to anyone who may be watching, that you are enjoying something amazing!
6. In what other ways can you bring the totality of your being into each breath? Choose a theme, or a combination of themes. Begin breathing, and then bring in as much body/mind/heart and passion as you can to the process. Infuse each breath with, and immerse each breath in, the most beautiful high, powerful thoughts, images, sounds, movements, and emotions.
Be total and spontaneous. Be creative. Be passionate! Open yourself to ecstasy!
Welcome to Spiritual Breathing!