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Remember to Breathe — compiled by David Gordon
All my life I have been amazed by the alchemy of vocal tone: we use our breathing, a basic element of life, and turn it into sound and art. Here are some thoughts on breath physical and metaphysical.
[L inspirare (in- in + spirare- breath, courage, vigor, the soul, life]
1. to breathe 2. to infuse life into by breathing
3. to have an animating effect upon
4. to cause, guide, communicate, or motivate as by divine or supernatural influence.
(Webster's New World Dictionary)
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living soul.
(Genesis 2:7, King James Bible)
Our breathing is the fragile vessel that carries us from birth to death.
Dr. Frederick Leboyer
(Birth Without Violence, Knopf, 1976)
Breath - The Vehicle of the Self
Breath is the mystery; in it is hidden the secret of life. Breath proves the existence of the life unseen. Breath is audible, at the same time inaudible. Breath is visible and at the same time invisible. It is a certain degree of the activity of the breath and the capacity through which it is acting which makes the breath audible. This shows that there exists something of which we are conscious, the source of which no one knows, which is active every moment of the day, on the model of which the mechanism of nature and art is made.
No one can explain whence it came into this mortal body, and no one can say whither it goes when it leaves this body of clay. One can only say that something living came and kept this mortal body alive and then left it. Man's true self is the part of his being which knows itself to exist, which is conscious of itself. When that self takes breath as its vehicle instead of the body then it soars upward toward the utmost heights, toward that goal which is the and origin of all beings.
Hazrat Inayat Khan
(Collected Works, Motilal Banarsidass, 1995)
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.
(Breath, Sleep, the Heart, and Life, Dawn Horse Press, 1975)
By stimulating and directing positive, joyous feelings we can change the essence of our inner patterns and experience. When positive of joyous feelings and attitudes pass through each organ and circulate throughout our whole system, our physical and chemical energies are transformed and balanced. In other words, we have the opportunity to recreate our bodies through positive energy.
(Gesture of Balance, Dharma Press 1977)
The moment you breathe deeply, more energy becomes available in your body. Where there is energy flow, there is motion. You can experience this motion in many different ways: as sensations like tingling, numbness, or vibration, or as emotions such as sadness, joy, or anger, and finally as actual body movements that go with these emotions, like crying, laughing, or striking out. So, therefore, if you are afraid to feel, one of the most effective Ways to keep yourself from feeling is to control your breathing.
Dr. Bruno Hans Geba
(Breathe Away Your Tension, SUNY Press, 1988)
It is most important that we learn to practice Full Awareness of Breathing during our daily lives. Usually, when we perform our tasks, our thoughts wander, and our joys, sorrows, anger, and unease follow close behind. Although we are alive, we are not able to bring our minds into the present moment, and we live in forgetfulness. We can begin by becoming aware of our breath, by following our breathing. Breathing in and breathing out, we know we are breathing in and out, and we can smile to affirm that we are ourselves, that we are in control of ourselves. Through awareness of breathing, we can be awake in and to the present moment.
Thich Nhat Hanh
(Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing, Parallax, 1988)
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