I'm reminded of the 1983 song by the rock band The Police "Every Breath You Take"off of their album titled Synchronicity every time I think of the concept of the breath science. I can't help thinking of how profound our tendency is to take the breath for granted when its something so vital for our lives; as vital to understanding and interpreting our world as the other seven Hermetic principles. Somehow, though many thousands of years passed since Thoth first scribed the universal laws for the God's (as Egyptian mythology describes) the last two principles were somehow lost giving us, the seven axioms of Tehuti which are: mind, correspondence, vibration, rhythm, causality, polarity and gender. For a complete understanding, however, we must also add the principle of breath or breathing. This principle states:
"Everything appears to be breathing inward and outward. This appears to be the principle by which one acknowledges life ..."
In physicality, its not hard to gauge the meaning of this part of the breathing principle. We breathe every second of every day. In fact, at rest, the average person takes between nine and 12 breaths per minute (In/Out = 1 Breath). At the low end of 9, this equals 540 breaths per hour and 12,960 breaths per day. At the high end of 12, this equals 720 breaths per hour and 17,280 breaths per day. By whatever measuring stick you choose, that's a lot of breaths; life giving, life sustaining breaths. In physicality, all animals - from insects to human beings - breathe; we all depend on the two elements of hydrogen and oxygen to breathe and live. Even in creatures where no lungs exist, the science of breath (or intake of energy and output of energy) exists.
In esoteric terms, the correspondences across all spiritual systems maintain that spirit itself does not breathe; breath is spirit. In every spiritual system (not religions necessarily) you could name throughout the globe, breath and breathing is considered an essential tool in reaching higher states of consciousness through meditation. The Buddhists teach that concentration on the in-out of the breath leads to a state called dhyana (a deep state of meditative absorption) where self healing can occur through manipulation of the mutable (changeable) universal laws. In the Hindu system, the word for life force and breath is Prana which is used in combination with Yoga to reach a state called Pranayama meaning extension of the life force. The same Yogic traditions of the Hindus were also practiced in ancient Egypt and Kemet under the Metu Neter spiritual system where controlled breathing was used to raise kundalini or life force. In all of these spiritual systems we see that breath is a tool to be used to reach higher consciousness. As a rule of thumb, any spiritual system that promotes meditation is steeped in the science of breath. This fact impresses upon the student to view the science of breath as key to reaching higher states of consciousness. In broader terms, it is also observed that the nature of our breath and breathing in the microcosm directly corresponds to the ebbs and flows of energy within the universe or the macrocosm. Each breath we take is an influx of life sustaining spirit (life force, energy, etc...) that allows our bodies to exist in physicality. While its true that breath has its correspondences, we have to be reminded of the second part of this powerful Axiom:
"... but in actuality, true life existed before the breath or the necessity to breathe to exist."
In the context of higher planes of existence (above the vibration of physicality), the breath as we know and experience it, does not exist. What this last part of the powerful principle teaches is that life existed before the breath. For example in the human context, the conception of life for every human being precedes breath; we take our first breath of air after leaving our mother's womb. In our physical existence, the student must acknowledge that which created the breath, the spirit, the Prana. In our human understanding of life, we tend to view something that does not breath to be dead or void of life but this is a false belief seldom taught in religious traditions that hinders the true understanding of man's divine nature; particularly in western religions. Ask yourself the question: Can one breathe spirit every second of every day and not be of divine origins?
Furthermore, in the mental plane, mind does not require breath. In the spiritual plane, spirit does not require breath because breath (air) is the physical manifestation of man's spirit. In the spirit realm, physicality does not exist therefore breath does not exist. Given this fact, that spirit existed before matter was created, we know that matter (including us) came from spirit. This fact further exemplifies the coalescence and coexistence of the divine laws. For example, the act of breathing is rhythm. The act of inhaling and exhaling air serves a dual function thus represents duality. The carbon dioxide we exhale feeds the plants and the oxygen that plants "exhale" sustains us; giving us the undeniable example of correspondence and divine law at work.
The Divine Science of the Breath
As mentioned earlier, the technique of controlling and holding the breath has been used for thousands of years to induce meditative trance thereby opening the doors to manipulate ones physical vibratory rate. Through this process, the practitioner is able to escape the physical body that houses the soul. While this process takes decades of practice and a great deal of discipline in all aspects of a practitioner's life (diet, daily meditation, visualization, etc ...) to reach, it is not impossible. In an earlier post about vibration, it was established that everything vibrates raising or lowering the physical vibration. In combination with visualization breath is used to raise one's vibration thus unlocking the doors to higher consciousness. In fact, sleeping is a form of this trance state (also known as dream state or theta state) where physical movement is ceased and the only movement is the breath. Although there is a difference between falling asleep and consciously inducing trance, anyone who has had a dream has experienced the power of breath. Another example of breath science comes through examining what happens when we exercise.
When you break down what actually happens when we exercise, it all comes back to the breath. When we increase the amount of breath we intake, blood flow increases and our bodies begin to heat up. This increase in breath and heat causes our bodies to sweat, which acts as a cooling mechanism to maintain our body temperature at 98.6 degrees. The process of sweating can be compared to the process of transmutation because water from the body is transmuted to vapor when it leaves the body as sweat. Furthermore, while exercising, we reach a mild trance-like state in focusing on whatever exercise we engage in. Distance runners have called it a "Runner's High" when they have run great distances and seem to enter a trance-like state where they feel they could run indefinitely without tiring or loosing any energy. Research has also shown that during static meditation (sitting still) the body temperature increases with the increased volume of controlled breath taken in by the practitioner. This increase in heat is the evidence of the raising of the physical vibration of the practitioner. Once the practitioners vibration reaches a certain level, the energetic body is able to transcend the physical body and enter the realm of the non physical while still being fully conscious. This is the Pranayama state that is referred to by Hindus; the Nirvana state as referenced by Buddhists; the Kundalini rising referred to by ancient Egyptians and Kemetian practitioners. Herein lies an even more keen understanding of our existence and the knowledge that we are the result of divine science. The bottom line is, we are divine science at work.
In more practical scientific terms, think back to the scientific experiments that we used to conduct in our junior high science classes. Aside from the chemicals that we used in the actual experiment, one key element was always necessary to catalyze the chemical reaction - heat. We all remember our trusty Bunsen Burners that supplied the heat to drive forward the chemical reaction we were trying to observe. Even in an example as simple as boiling water, we can see exactly what happens in our own bodies. Just like water transmutes to steam after being heated to 100 degrees Celsius, so too does our consciousness transcend the physical body when our vibratory rate reaches a certain point while in meditative trance. With this realization, we now know that reaching higher states of consciousness is as simple as controlling one's breathing. Yet again divine law reveals the intrinsic simplicity in the complexity of our human experience.