The Hidden Language of the Breath
An essay in intuitive awareness and direct experience
Eric Stone © July 16, 2013
Stress and dissatisfaction possibly represent the deepest ancestral binary pattern that undermines human health, spirit and the possibility of fulfillment on this existential plane.
Stress, dissatisfaction and disappointment are typically minimized and ignored for being part of life. They are scarcely understood in the context of health, creativity, self-expression or wellbeing. After all, stress is viewed and accepted as a modern collective phenomenon. Very much like the common cold, it travels incognito. Unrecognized for anyone to do anything about it, stress remains the usual underground suspect. Not much we can do but accept it and continue taking our vitamins and Yoga classes.
Yet, its ravages are felt at the very core of our physical, emotional and mental states. Stress is not just a collective phenomenon; it is the very atmosphere and frequency we cultivate and facilitate—day in and day out without even batting an eyelash. Why is it so easy for stress to go under the radar?
Essentially and at collective unconscious levels, stress is connected to a deep-seated inability to refrain ourselves from reacting to life’s challenges and its resulting fears. It is not difficult to see that the average response to stress is either to get stuck in various highs and lows of depression and inaction or to simply never be able to sit still in a socially acceptable mode of avoidance. Human beings run around in various tolerable forms of restless frenzies and addictions with few exceptions. We are so used to it that it has become the “business as usual” topography of our existence.
Beneath the surface of our technological triumphs, stress is a silent killer, a strange by-product of our evolution and a true manifestation of our disconnection from nature and ourselves. What an irony! Stress can positively be seen as an addiction to rushing; it literally conceals our real and natural self. When we rush, we skip essential colors, experiences and happenings and the price we pay is insanely high. We push the river for no authentic gain and do not complete things, from relationships to projects and goals. We speed through life and then we die. In all areas of life, stress steals the potential for aliveness, authenticity and relatedness. It’s a silent epidemic that can only be addressed one person at a time so we can each regain a genuine sense of purpose and fulfillment. A life without stress is a Godly gift and there is a way out.
Shallow breathing is at the root of stress and dissatisfaction. Put another way, stress is a direct manifestation of shallow breathing. On a much more sober and lugubrious note, stress is the language of dying. Arguably, there is no greater fear than the fear of death and stress is intimately connected to it. In a strange and yet profound way, shallow breathing is the hidden language of death just as much as deep breathing is the hidden language of life and its powerful background frequency.
There is no such thing as good stress, whether physical, emotional or mental. Analogously, there is no such thing as a good heart attack or a good cancer.
Breath is the great source of life on earth and correct breathing is a testament to our aliveness and self-expression as a civilized species. Children experience it for a brief time before the conditioning field of stress and pressure sets in. In my humble view, breathing is synonymous to sacred life—a sort of reconnection to natural genius, common-sense wisdom and playful interacting.
To live is to breathe and when you breathe deep inside bellow your belly button, you automatically release stress by invited breath back into your being. For me, breathing is categorically the language of creative living.
I find it curious and almost shocking that most people don’t breathe well. For instance, public speaking is a great fear because what gets activated when we speak publicly is our inability to face our fears through proper breathing; all those eyes on us put the finger on the very thing we are so used to take for granted, hide or do not demonstrate properly: breathe while facing our fears without flinching. Our inability to breathe becomes our inability to relate.
Our modern world is filled with ancient and new age wisdom. Lao-Tzu, Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Hinduism, Islam, the Kabala, the book of the I Ching and Astrology, all the great masters, prophets, saints, gurus, priests, poets and philosophers, in one form or another, speak of love, surrender and the pure enjoyment of our illusory or passing existence. So many ancient rituals were rooted in dance and song, which placed worshipers in direct contact with breath.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. ~ Helen Keller.
Proper breathing is the formidable catalyst and proper breathing is a highly individual affair. Proper means deeper breathing, all the way to your perineum, which is the region of the body inferior to the pelvic diaphragm and between the legs. When we breathe deeper we breathe away from the mind, which provides astounding relaxation. It gives birth to the possibility of unclouded thinking and emotional clarity. There is massive agreement that love is essential in life and there are so many types of love as well as so many ways to express them. It’s quasi endless. What they all have in common is breathing, the main synergist that goes unnoticed. I’d like you to ponder that when we stop breathing we stop giving.
Our ignorance of the laws of nature is quite staggering, yet curiously innocent. How dependent we are on breathing without knowing giving it our attention—a natural dependence without co-dependency. All worthwhile acts begin and end in our ability to get in touch with our breath. I do not believe that we are here to “think” our way through life nor can we thrive through thoughts alone. We’re here to “breathe” our way through life and to experience it physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Breathing deepens the dialectic with our true nature. Yet, why is it that we have to constantly be reminded?
The deeper you breathe the more you feel. The less you breathe the less you feel and feeling alive and well is everything, is it not? It is hardly known nor examined that we breathe in order to feel, understand, integrate, impact, sense, share, support, empower, generate and most important re-generate so we can gain clarity. Every generative or creative act requires re-generation. Sleep is re-generative; so is breathing. Breathing in creates while breathing out evacuates.
We become sensitive through breathing; it opens up the pathways to higher consciousness and the art of presence. For example, thinking that is formatted by breathing is relaxed and deep; but more important clear and knowing. Clarity is an outcome of deep breathing so is presence and intuition.
In addition, my view is that the language of the breath is the language of truth and honesty. Do not trust someone who doesn’t breathe. Not because you can’t trust them but because they cannot trust themselves, until they start breathing and understand the meaning of it.
Breath has the unusual gift of formatting rhythm, which in turn formats the soulful experiencing of our every thought, feeling and action. There is no way out of this existential truth. Whether we do it unconsciously and with talent or we do through a re-learning process, breathing takes us out of stress and anxiety and into artful appreciation of what it is to be alive.
One cannot experience love for oneself, others and humanity at large, until one starts giving breathing the most important place in one’s quest for fulfillment. When I breathe in a shallow way I’m busy dying; I am subsequently not busy living and generating my true purpose and contributing my wisdom. The atmospheres I create around me are all sourced in the quality of my breathing. I am tempted to say that breathing is a creative attitude and pro-life art form, which generate health and satisfaction impossible to create outside of our breathing.
The more alive, creative and self-expressed you are; the more you breathe. Anxiety, angst, depression settle when one stops breathing. Therefore, the seat of our creativity is lodged deep inside our breathing. Being begins in the breath not in a philosophical or intellectual concept. To me, a dying spirit is a dying breath, as spirit needs air to recognize itself. Thinking that occurs out of breathing is thinking I can trust.
To my knowledge, breath is not regarded enough as a doorway to health, vitality and happiness. Breathing is our true inner language and our intimate connection to being. It is also the language of playfulness and the sacred passage to creativity. There isn’t a single moment where breath does not take an essential role in the articulation of our thoughts, ideas and actions. The more breath is fully experienced, the more one can slide through life with grace.
I view life and the universe as a beautiful cosmic dance and its colorful expressions transform almost every instant. The breath is the true meter of this extraordinary cosmic dance. Breathing can literally change what we are experiencing into something we can sculpt at will. Our first breath sets the tone for our entire magnificent journey on this earth and our last one will as well, whatever the next destination.
Don’t remain a prisoner of stress; reclaim your life, one breath at a time!