I don’t know of any other way to remain in deep and perfect peace for prolonged periods of time than by putting your mind to rest in order to let the spirit act as a magic balm on it. And I don’t know of a better way to put your mind to rest than by concentrating it on your own breathing. You cannot breathe consciously and be into your mind at the same time.
All genuine meditation techniques are usually based on a perfect concentration on a point, whether this point is a sacred mantra or the divine light known to reside between your eyebrows or the sound of the sea in the night. Yet the fact remains that there is no better point to concentrate on during the 24 hours of day than your own breathing. Not only is it the perfect mechanism to let prana, vital air, enter and circulate all through your body to keep it alive and healthy, but your breathe is your most intimate possession as well in the spiritual sense. In fact, it is both God’s spirit and your own spirit acting all over your self.
A yogi benefiting from his practice of pranayana nadhi shodana. But relax,
you don’t need to be a great yogi to benefit from conscious breathing
So the best way to put your mind to rest is by concentrating it on your breathing to let both God’s spirit and your own spirit act on it. And the best way to concentrate your mind on your breathing is to first put it to rest. This seemingly circular and contradictory proposition is actually not such. As hinted at in the fist part of this article, by breathing you let God’s spirit enter your body and mind to act on both. But you have to take the first step, which consists in consciously letting God’s spirit in for it to act not only to keep you alive and healthy but also to put your mind to rest. In a way, you will be opening God the door to your mind for Him to act on it. From this moment on, the process will become circular and self-contained. You only will need to take this firm decision to, so to speak, let Him in to bless your body and mind by soothing it with His spirit, and then to make a minimum effort to keep this process on and working by remembering it - that is, the process but, still better, God Himself - at every breath you take.
Does the term 'spiritual exercises' mean something new to you now? And, does the biblical phrase 'to walk in the presence of God' now have a new connotation for you? It all has to do with communication, the highest for of communication; in point of fact, it all begins there.
Of course, agnostics and even atheistic people can benefit from this ‘spiritual exercises’. Your doctor will recommend you take long walks while vigorously breathing, and more and more important people – great chess masters among them - take long walks while consciously and rhythmically breathing as well. All athletes have always known that their physical exercises mean very little if there is no deep and rhythmic breathing accompanying it. Yet none of these can be said to be walking "in the presence of God" at the same time. But then, they may think the entire cosmos becomes a part of them when they inhale a breath of good air and then that they become a tiny but essential part of the cosmos in turn when they exhale it.
On the other hand, it is a common recommendation to breathe deeply in moments of great stress or imminent danger. However, few people will associate these practices to a divine origin. There is so much ignorance in the Western world as to what true spirituality is! Down here the term ‘meditation’ has always been regarded as synonymous of thinking. What a great mistake this is.
Going to the extreme, your mind can be considered to be your best friend and your worst enemy at the same time, and more the latter if it continuously is trying to get both itself and yourself lost in vain and unnecessary thinking or still worse, to make you stumble upon downright evil ways which will make your soul perish to all practical effects.
On the other hand, your breathe will always be your best friend in that it will not only keep you alive and healthy but will nourish both your body and mind with the holy balm of God’s Spirit.
Only by emptying your mind by perfectly concentrating it on this most special ‘possession’ of yours that is your own breathing, can you truly meditate and let this spiritual energy act. And by letting it act, you are letting God into yourself.
As to your soul, your own self, it has frequently been likened to a drop of water in the ocean; yet a more precise definition is that it is a minute spark of light originated in God’s gigantic Light. And just as it is but a minuscule spark from the all-pervading Light of God, so is your breathe, your spirit, but a minuscule amount of air from the omnipresent Spirit of God.
The great Ramakrishna used to compare our little selves to a grain of salt. If a stone is put into the sea it will only get wet. But if it is a grain of salt that is put into the sea, then it will let the ocean fully penetrate and dissolve it until they both become one and the same thing.
And the same is with us. If we let God into our selves, He will dissolve us; yet by penetrating us, He will Himself be dissolved in us at the same time so that we both mutually integrate till we become one and the same thing. And this can become a process than repeats itself ad infinitum if only we make that little effort to breathe consciously.
(to be continued on Part 3)
Luis Miguel Goitizolo
This video is about Pranayana (or Pranayama) yogic exercises. Again, relax:
you don’t have to be an accomplished yogi to benefit from conscious
breathing, as it is shown for informative purposes only.