Our Breath – Our Lifeline

“I breathe in All That Is-
Awareness expanding
to take everything in,
as if my heart beats
the world into being.
From the unnamed vastness beneath the
mind, I breathe my way to wholeness and healing.
Inhalation. Exhalation.
Each Breath a “yes,”
and a letting go, a journey, and a coming home.”

– Danna Faulds, “Breath of Life”

The following is a reflection on breath, from a gifted guru, girlfriend, author, nutritionist, yoga instructor, coach (extraordinaire), Frances Murchison. Frances taught me about breath. At the time I didn’t understand its importance; so simple, too simple, I thought. Today I texted with my friend in the hospital some ideas on relaxed breathing as she receives oxygen to support her recovery from Covid-19 induced pneumonia. And tonight I practiced with my son as he works through chest tightness and congestion. Breath work is simple, and fundamental, and right now especially, it’s essential. Thank you from so many, for your teachings, Frances!

***

In her poem “Breath of Life,” Danna Faulds, a poet and a yoga practitioner, guides us to become aware of our breath as an instrument of awareness, acceptance and peace. 

If we believe that all war begins in our own hearts and minds, then we can turn our gaze inward to create space, both to let go and to come home to our true nature, which is love, grace, kindness, and humility.

These are very challenging times for life on our planet. At some point, in some way, most of us will experience the effects of this virus. If there were ever a time to allow our awareness to take everything in, it’s now. 

We are all in this together. Each of us has the same need; to breathe in, and breathe out. Some of us are doing just that with a bit more ease than others.

When we experience others through our conditioned lens of desires, fears and of unexamined beliefs, we react in ways that cause distance, and sometimes injury. How do you and I, out of fear and want, create a sense of separation from others? And how, in this time of uncertainty and fear can we awaken and live from our true nature of lovingkindness and wisdom?

I believe we must begin with our own breath.

In the oldest languages and faith traditions on the planet, the word “breath” is synonymous with “spirit”, “soul,” and “life force.”  In Sanskrit, the ancient language of yoga and Ayurveda, the word for breath is “prana,” which literally means “that which gives life, energy.” In Greek, the word for breath is “pneuma”. In Hebrew, the word is “ruach.”

Our breath is our life force, our soul, our life line to our spirit. 

So it is in these challenging times that we can turn our gaze back to our breath, and simply notice this life-giving miracle, with each inhale and each exhale. 

I offer this profoundly simple meditation by the late Thich Nhat Hanh. I use it daily. I share it with my yoga students and mindfulness practitioners. It’s hugely healing, and everyone can do it. No need to be a yogi, monk or serious meditator. What I love the most about it, is that as a Buddhist monk, he speaks from his own individual perception of the Kingdom of Heaven and God. 

In the Kingdom of God

Breathing in, breathing out.
Breathing in, breathing out.

Breathing in, I’m aware of my eyes.
Breathing out, I smile to my eyes.

Breathing in, I see the beautiful sky.
Breathing out, I smile to my open eyes.

Breathing in, I am in the present moment.
Breathing out, I am here in the Kingdom of God.

Breathing in, my eyes belong to the Kingdom of God.
Breathing out, the trees belong to the Kingdom of God.

Breathing in, I am in the Kingdom of heaven.
Breathing out, I am in the Kingdom of heaven.

Breathing in. Breathing out.
Breathing in. Breathing out.

Breathing in, I see myself as a flower.
Breathing out, I feel fresh.

Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain.
Breathing out, I feel solid.

Breathing in, I am firm as the earth.
Breathing out, I am free.

Breathing in, breathing out.
Breathing in, breathing out.

Breathing in, I see myself as still water.
Breathing out, I see myself reflecting as it is.

Breathing in, I see what is real,
Breathing out, I see what is true.

Breathing in, I see myself as space.
Breathing out, I feel free.

Breathing in, feel there is space inside me.
Breathing out, I feel space around me.

Breathing in, I feel space inside and around me.
Breathing out, I am free.

Breathing in, I smile.
Breathing out, I release.

Breathing in, I smile.
Breathing out, I let go.

Breathing in, I smile to my difficulties.
Breathing out, I release.

Breathing in, I go back to the present moment.
Breathing out, I know this a wonderful moment.

Breathing in, I am alive.
Breathing out, I know I’m alive.

Breathing in, wonderful moment.
Breathing out, I know this is the only moment.

Present moment.
Wonderful moment.

Breathing in, yes
Breathing out, thank you.

Breathing in, I touch the sky with my eyes.
Breathing out, I touch the earth with my feet.

Breathing in, I receive healing from the earth.
Breathing out, I heal the earth with my breath.

Breathing in, I touch my heart.
Breathing out, I smile to my heart.

Present moment. Present moment.
Wonderful moment. Wonderful moment.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Nicely done

  2. Continued hugs and prayers!❤️
    I’m so grateful I stopped making fun of yoga, tried it, and ate my words!
    It’s amazing. I miss my teacher at the Rec Center. She would sing to us, use bells and those vibrating bowls. So mystical.
    Thanks for the beautiful blog.
    Hope you feel better so, so, so so soon!!!

  3. Thank you. This left me feeling refreshed. It is so helpful giving us an actual practice. I loved it.

  4. Beautiful and thanks for the smiles.

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