I am occasionally reminded of a beautiful line in the Gospel according to St. Luke, 11:1, where Jesus prays to God asking to be taught how to pray. Jesus asks not what to pray for; he does not pray for this or that. He asks how to pray.
I think we need similar instruction about breathing: Dear God: teach us how to breathe.
Teach us how to breathe beautifully. Teach us how to breathe truly.
Teach us how to breathe deeply. Teach us how to breathe in spirit.
Teach us to take in a breath that is connected to a healing spirit.
In many languages, the words for breath and spirit are connected. I am reminded of this when I look at our word: Respiration. In the middle of that word, respiration, the very process of breathing, is spirit.
The Bible begins with the wind/breath/spirit hovering above the waters. We do not breathe air. We breathe in spirit.
Omid Safi, Learning How to Breathe Again
One thought on “Teach us how to breathe”
Christians today who practice conscious breathing sometimes call it “resting in Spirit.” ” … And they were all filled with Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:4. Could that mean they were filled with awareness of the holiness of breath? Did Jesus teach his disciples conscious breathing ?
The Sanskrit word for breath, prana, also means universal energy, life force. The origin of a Chinese word for this energy, Qi ( ” chee ” ) is steam, vapor. The word spirit comes from Latin, spiritus, spirare, meaning breath, to breathe. (In spiration mans breathing in. Old Testament and Greek words for spirit – ruach and pneuma – mean breath but also wind (merging within and without). Hebrew & Arabic nefes means soul as well as breath.
In my Buddhist practice, I’ve learned breath is a hinge between body and mind – not separate from either. The three ( breath mind body ) are one and each one is all three.
Pause … breathe … smile !