Simple Human Alchemy

There should be no dead breath, no small chemistry, but intentional and full use of breathing as a feeling instrument in the actual and present ingestion, translation, and transfer of Life-Energy. — Da Free John

The purpose of conscious breathing is not primarily the movement of air, but the movement of energy. If you do a relaxed, connected breathing cycle for a few minutes, you will begin to experience dynamic energy flows within your body. These energy flows are the merging of spirit and matter. — Leonard Orr

Breathe deeply and gently through every cell of the body, laugh happily, and release the head of all worries and anxieties; and finally, breathe in the blessing of love, hope, and immortality that is flowing in the air, and you will understand the meaning of human breath. — Pundit Acharya

We so easily take breathing for granted. A fully automatic process, beginning at birth and continuing without interruption until the day that we die, breath typically flows as a fully unconscious process—we have no need to in any way consciously attend to our breathing. Just as we can expect to breathe quite adequately while sleeping each night, so can we expect our breathing to continue without consciously doing it. Breath will continue through the deepest and most unconscious of human sleep.

Of course, our hearts also beat continuously without any conscious effort, and we digest our food without actually doing anything about it. From moment to moment a myriad of vital processes occur in our bodies and continue throughout our lives, of which we generally have no conscious awareness. This shows the wonderful design of living creatures: an innate, subconscious intelligence governs most of the workings of the body, freeing conscious awareness for other pursuits.

With the breath, however, we discover something of great importance. While breathing can remain a completely unconscious process, it also can quite easily become a conscious, intentional practice. That is, while respiration, along with most of our bodily processes, must function continuously—and thus unconsciously—one can also consciously influence and control the flow of breath. This unique quality of the breath makes it a link between the conscious and unconscious aspects of our being.

You can stop your breathing now for several moments, if you want to. You can resume breathing deeply now, if you want to. You can fill your lungs completely with breath, or breathe very lightly, or let the air out in a gentle sigh, or blow it out in a strong wind, all because you want to—it moves according to your conscious control.

This site, along with most all of “teachings of the breath” that our world has known, maintains that a regular practice of conscious, intentional breathing can bring great physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefit to the individual. And while there exist many highly complex and often difficult ways to practice conscious, intentional breathing, some of the best ways are simple, safe, and immediately accessible to all people.

In any moment that we become aware of the movement of breath within us, we simultaneously become more conscious as individuals and more directly involved in the integrated functions of body, mind, and spirit. Conscious breathing encourages the expansion of consciousness throughout the human organism and beyond: each conscious inhale positively excites and expands the body and immediate environment; each conscious exhale supports the relaxation of all surrounding and connecting energies. Every conscious breath brings the breather simply and directly to life.

Michael Sky, Breathing: Expanding your Power and Energy

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