A Stress-free Breath of Life
From nowhere to nowhere, birth to death or rebirth, all that really matters is now here; ironically ‘now here’ being the two words that make up nowhere. With ‘now’ denoting time and ‘here’ denoting space, time being the reverse of space in a time-space continuum of present moments, it is a continuum in which the only time there really ever is - is NOW, and the only space there really ever is - is HERE; all relative to perception. But what does one know? What does one really know about the grand scheme of things? Starting from a point so much finer than that of a needle to a Multiverse of zillions of things seen and unseen, I know absolutely nothing. Faced with the Socratic paradox, “I know that all I know is that I do not know anything.” So with that said, I shall keep my words wisely restrained and speak only of the things I have come to understand through personal observation and experience. Now here, I gratefully draw breath.
Breathe… It is the first thing that happens as the Vital Spark of Life arrives, and the last thing that happens as that magnificent spark leaves. Breathing is something we do all the time, mostly unconsciously, without any real effort. We do it on average about 20,000 times a day. I have done it repeatedly all of my life so far yet I am only just learning to really value and appreciate it, to really understand and gracefully master it again. Without our breath, there is no life. Our breath is absolutely essential for the sustenance and continuity of life yet, as is often the case with most of us, caught up in our ludicrously busy (stress-filled) lives, we no longer fully appreciate the things that are simple, vital, and free. Breathing properly, consciously, can very positively affect our physical, emotional, mental, and I dare add, spiritual well-being; but the one way I am really curious to explore and master is breathing to manage stress levels in order to promote a relatively consistent state of deep inner peace - in a world that is getting angrier and sadder day by day. Peace, the secret superpower!
When we were babies, and as very young children, we all took deep relaxing breaths from our abdomen that promoted this beautiful and perfect state of deep inner peace. As we got older, stress began to change the way we breathe. Stress is the mind and body’s method of reacting to a condition such as a threat, challenge or physical and psychological barrier. The autonomous ‘fight or flight’ response of the mind and body to stress has been well researched and documented so it does not come as a surprise to most people to learn that as we evolved into a modern world in which we no longer needed to continuously fight or flee to survive, our beings, with a unique intelligence of their own beyond our conscious processes, still continued to respond to the new stressors we perceived with the same old response. When stressed, we take short sharp breaths amongst other physiological and biochemical changes to help keep us alert and prepare us for the perceived fight or flight we might have to face. Unfortunately, after prolonged periods of stress we constantly breathe like this, only ever using the top third of our lungs. This ends up causing us to breathe as if we are permanently hyperventilating in constant response to our perceived stressors, eventually contributing to feelings of more and more anxiety - as we lead our lives of quiet desperation, aware of our transience. Completely hidden from our day-to-day functional or habitual levels of awareness stress can build up to sometimes very toxic levels in direct proportion to how fearful, anxious or worried we are about anything (for some, everything).
In this new world of modern stressors, albeit dysfunctionally perceived, with a mostly non-existent need to fight or flee that my Mind-Body does not understand, there is hope, I can breathe. I can learn to consciously draw breath anew. We can all relearn to breathe as we did when we were babies and as much younger children. Even better, if we so desire, we can take things further by learning to aspire with every breath. For me, aspiring, I shall make a conscious effort not just to breathe deep, relaxing breaths from my abdomen, but I shall also aspire to create a consistent state of deep inner and thereby outer peace. I shall aspire to take in the best and most progressive atoms with every in-breath and give out the best and most progressive atoms with every out-breath; understanding that at the very core of the atom is nothing but space and vibratory energy, and that I have the power - through conscious effort - to create the best space and vibratory energy within. I shall focus on the light within my heart to guide me going forward, embracing my inner child by becoming more childlike and intuitive in certain ways every day.
Is breathing in a past or future space and time possible? The past is definitely past; the future is never here; there is only, really ever the present moment in our time-space reality as perceived. It is always now, and we are always here. Right? When we allow ourselves to be angry, fearful, worried, anxious and ultimately stressed about past events or future possibilities, we affect our breath and well-being in the present; and funnily enough these events and possibilities are simply a matter of perception, products of memory, thoughts, feelings, imagination and attention in a present moment. In a world of infinite possibilities and so many distractions are we becoming less capable of controlling and focusing our attention? Should we then begin by prioritising control and focus of our attention? After all, “energy flows where attention goes.” Heartfulness and Mindfulness are themes to explore.
Everything is a matter of perception. Heartfulness! LOVE is the master key. Mindfulness! Awareness is the only way. It all begins with self-love and self-awareness. Peace is the magnificent state that will enable us to become so much more loving and so much more aware. So, here and now, we must begin anew to master the breath in order to create the right space and vibratory energy within, to become beautiful and perfect conduits for the greatest amount of peaceful, loving awareness of ‘All That Is’. This loving awareness, by grace, may ultimately enable us to become really wise, pure and good in direct proportion to the earnestness of our definite desires, and the consistency of our fixed purposeful efforts. It will also help us to avert stress.
Now here, I aspire and gratefully take a conscious, long, slow, deep breath in; a stress-free breath of life. Breathe...