In meditation we always focus on our breath. All motions and activities within the universe is a movement of breath. Our breath is one with the entire universe. Breath, spirit and life are synonymous. Therefore when we focus on our breath we focus on life. Life in its purest form…..you let go……and just be.
I would like to share a story with you that illustrates the importance of our breath. It is referred to as Prana which is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “life-force” the invisible bio-energy or vital energy that keeps the body alive and maintains a state of good health. Prana is the life-energy or life-principle of the universe.
The five main faculties of our nature – the mind, breath (prana), speech, ear and eye – were arguing with each other as to which one of them was the best and most important. This reflects the ordinary human state in which our faculties are not integrated but fight with each other, competing for their rule over our attention. To resolve this dispute they decided that each would leave the body and see whose absence was most missed.
First speech left the body but the body continued though mute. Next the eye left but the body continued though blind. Next the ear left but the body continued though deaf. Mind left but the body continued though unconscious. Finally the Prana began to leave and the body began to die and all the other faculties began to lose their energy. So they all rushed to Prana and told it to stay, lauding its supremacy. Clearly Prana won the argument. Prana gives energy to all our faculties, without which they cannot function. Without honoring Prana first there is nothing else we can do and no energy with which to do anything. The moral of this story is that to control our faculties the key is the control of Prana.
Prana is the essence of life. It allows our spirits to connect and become one with the universe. This primeval energy is known by different names in all teachings of wisdom, including: Ki (Japan), Chi (China), Pneuma (Greece), Mana (Polynesian), Ruah (Hebrew – Breath of Life, Old Testament).
Another word for essence is root. Root always signifies the beginning. Most all things living and with energy stem from a root source or beginning. Therefore, we can say Prana is the beginning of life. Another word I would like to utilize in this article is evolve. To evolve is to develop, progress, emerge and mature. I will take these two words and say it is my opinion that we begin our life with breath and upon our first breath (prana) we begin the process of evolving. Since the breath is the root and beginning we must always focus on it to ensure our process of evolving will be favorable and positive. If breath (prana) does not continue then the opposite of life occurs which is death. Most of us understand how breath (prana) affects our bodily functions but I would like to expound on how it effects our mental capacity which inadvertently also affects the bodily capacities.
I think that most would agree that in order to have our lives evolving in a positive manner in life we must exercise some form of control or discipline over our lives. I feel it begins with control and discipline of breath (prana). If you can focus and control your breath you will achieve harmony within the physiological body and thus awakening of breath (prana) in the mind. Modern science has established that there are ten areas of the brain and we are using only one at our present state of evolution. In order to utilize the other 90% we must direct and dispense our breath in a satisfactory and positive manner to awaken these other nine areas.
The subconscious and the conscious mind interact through our breathing. This is done in an area of the brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The igniting point for other parts of the brain is only found in the RAS. We are able to affect the RAS only through our breaths and breathing. No other function of the autonomic nervous system can be controlled by conscious human activity. Breath and breathing is conscious human activity. When we discipline and control the breath we can control our RAS thus gaining authority over our subconscious and conscious mind. This has been proven scientifically.
The basic example I can think of that demonstrates this in my own life is my breath when I am angry. When I am angry my breathing is rapid as well as my heart rate. Blood rushes through the frontal cortex of my brain clouding rational thought and I feel threatened and fearful. Higher levels of fatty acids and blood sugars are released to provide immediate energy to survive the perceived emergency. Due to my anger stimulating certain physiological functions my mind is clouded and I further prepare to survive an emergency that my mind discerns. The angrier I become the more rapid the breathing becomes and I enter a state of almost holding my breath which results in muscle tension and anxiety. Now I challenge you to try holding your breath and feel intense joy or peace of mind. I find this to be an impossible feat and I think you will also come to this conclusion.
I can’t be happy when I am angry. My body goes through certain adverse physiological functions when I am angry and these inevitably affect my subconscious and conscious mind. My perception is clouded and often will not be accurate which could heightened my perceived emergency. However, if I stop and become aware of this process and intercept by focusing on my breath I can redirect my breath (prana) and control my RAS. The end result is my conscious mind and my unconscious mind are being disciplined and controlled by my breath. My body will not go through adverse physiological functions that most often fuel and heightened my anger. If I can control my breath, I can control my mind and my body which allows me to have authority over my life. Thus all evolutionary processes within my life will be satisfactory, positive and harmonious within the universe that connects me to all. All is breath which connects me to my Divine and the universe.
I believe we can move matter without touching it as well as walk on water as the Great Divine has demonstrated. We can do all if we focus and gain authority over our breath. Breath is spirit and all is life. My breath is the basic energy force inside of me (my spirit) which gives me life.
I will conclude that breath, mind and body have a loving relationship with each other. It is initiated when we are born and becomes the very essence of each individual life and connects us lovingly to the universe which I personally term as my Great Divine.