Breathing as Spiritual Practice

As we discussed yesterday, breathing is more than just sucking in air and blowing it back out again, it is participation with God in living.  So it is good to become more aware of our breath.  Don’t make this some esoteric spiritual practice or anything.  Simply breathe.  When you inhale, know you are inhaling.  When you exhale, know that you are exhaling.  Just focus on your breathing.  Don’t think about anything else.  Your mind won’t be used to this of course, and it will race all over the place.  Just gently return to your breath.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Don’t think about what you will be eating later, or the phone call you don’t want to make, or what your boss just said.  Put all that aside and concentrate on your breath.  Do this for 5 to 10 breaths.  No big deal.  Do stop consciencely, not letting your mind race back into thought on its own.  It is good to be able to control your mind.  Keep at it and do it two or three times a day.  As you get better at it you can increase the amount of times you do it a day and how long you do it.

Remember how I said that one possible way of pronouncing the name of God is Yad, He, Vav, He, and that it is thought to be an imitation of the sound of breathing?  Well we can apply this to our little practice.  As you inhale, say in your mind Yad.  Then as you exhale say He.  Inhale, and again quietly to yourself say Vav, and exhale and say He.  This awareness of breath, and acknowledgment of where it came from, makes the simple act of breathing into a very powerful prayer.  Say the name with love, and with gentleness.  You aren’t asking for anything.  You are learning to simply be with Him.    As you become more aware of Him in your breath you will become more aware of Him in everything you do.  To live in better awareness of Him is to also live life with more gratitude.  Your life becomes a thanksgiving.  Your life becomes a prayer.

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