Breath: What's So Great About It?

During a recent meditation and contemplative sitting, as I was focusing on my breath and breathing, the questioning statement, and title of this article, popped into my awareness and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

Breath: What’s so great about it?

The irony struck me as so funny. Well, without it, breath, there is no life. That was my first impulse – seems rational, logical and reasonable, right?!

But, is that really true? 

With a quick google search, I discovered that the current definition of breath is the air taken into or expelled from the lungs. However, there is an archaic definition that means the power of breathing life.

“Knowing the constant, we accept things as they are.
By accepting things as they are, we are impartial.
By being impartial, we are part of the Nature.
By being a part of the Nature, we are one with Tao.
Tao is eternal, and we survive physical death.”

      -Tao Te Ching quotes, Verse 16

“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living being.”

      -Genesis 2:7

Is ‘breath’ life?

Perhaps, if we were to take the stance of an impartial witness, breath is simply one evidence or expression of life; of God.

The Aramaic word rukh may be translated as “spirit,” “breath,” “soul” or as whatever moves, stirs, animates, and links us to life. (Source: Prayers of the Cosmos, by Neil Douglas-Klotz, page 48.)

There are traditions of gurus being able to stay underwater for hours/days. CLICK HERE for a link to Guru Nanak’s enlightening story.

All this is very interesting Karen, you might be saying to yourself about now, but how does this relate to me?

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Let’s further examine - what if breath is simply evidence or expression of life; of God?

Ah, now this is getting good.

Is there life beyond this body that is breathed?

Could this be why so much emphasis and import is made about focusing on proper breathing? The breath as a way to mindfulness, to healing and connection of mind~body~soul...connection with God.

Most of us move through life, often rather clunky on autopilot, breathing very shallowing and denying ourselves the rejuvenating, refreshing, calming power of each breath. When we slow down, become aware, i.e. wake up, we can be more intentional and can direct our breath, and thus usher in or make welcome immediate peace and clarity.

Breath is so important and vital. Yet is the one thing that we – meaning the idea of our individual self – do not have to control. Breath is done for us, thus alluding to Oneness. And, it is the one thing that we can exercise a modicum of control over. We can deepen our breath, hold our breath, quicken our breath, send our breath, well you get the idea, thus alluding to creativity. Yet, this wonderful gift is so often taken for granted.

That said, when we have the experience of limited or obstructed breath like sinus issues, asthma, or bronchitis, then we remember the gift and get to practice gratitude and mindfulness, if we so choose.

Why not just be mindful, present, and aware all the time? Or, at least as often as we remember?

Breath – this vital life force is so powerful that many report healing simply using Breathwork practices. You can do a Google search for “stories of healing through the power of breath” yourself and discover a plethora of information, books, practices, etc.

For me, bringing my awareness to my breath, slowing, taking deep intentional breaths while giving my mind something to focus upon – even the breath itself, is the gateway to God. 

“Be still, and Know that I Am God.”
–Psalm 46:10

God, by whatever name you call God, as the Source of life, gives us breath. Breath is a wonderful way to recognize and give thanks for the expression of God/Life called you and me.


Abound in grace,

Karen