‘The first thing they teach you as a monk is how to breathe. Your breath is the only thing that stays with you from the moment you are born till the moment you die’. Jay Shetti
This piece of information made me stop in awe and wonder. Such a simple statement yet such a fundamental truth.
Spirituality, whether in religion or otherwise, always speaks about the significance of the breath. Apart from the very obvious blessing that because of it we are alive, our breath is central to our connection with the divine. In meditation, we focus on our breath to shift from our thoughts to stillness. In Sufism, breath is not just the air that passes in and out of our nostrils, it is nafs, the True Self. As the True Self, it is the deeper current that continually traverses between the physical realm and our innermost being, connecting our mind, body and spirit.
It is said that in each breath, the inhalation is a growing, an expanding and coming to life; just as with the exhalation, there is a contraction, a diminishing and dying. This ‘not so secret’ secret of the breath is that our entire life is a dance of rising and falling, coming alive and dying, same as the seasons, same as the moon; just as the day yields to the night.
There is a rhythm within us too, each emotion manifests with its own measure. Have you ever noticed your breath when you are happy? Or how it contracts when you are afraid? Our breath is how we navigate our life, both inside and outside of us. In learning to use our breath we bring awareness and primordial wisdom to any situation in our life. Looking through the lens of stillness, everything becomes crystal clear.
What a great lesson to start life with! Deep gratitude to the monks for this priceless gift and to Jay Shetty for sharing it with us.