Meditation & The Breath
In this first of three articles, let’s explore the three vital keys of proper meditation – the first being the breath.
For a beginner seeking an introduction into this sublime practice, there seems to be an endless stream of information available. It can be difficult to know where to start, so let’s see if we can separate the wheat from the chaff, and extract the gems. More importantly, let’s get some results.
If you are like most people, you have likely come across the gambit of instructions – from simple guided meditations to intoning the holy names of God. As far as actual results go, a person will typically experience very few at worst, and mild benefits at best. The first will likely discontinue his practice, and the latter will settle for a lot less than he has to. This need not be the case, as there are a handful of specific keys, which once grasped can propel the initiate into an entirely different dimension (literally) and states of bliss he never thought possible.
There are three main keys (and subsequent practices) to meditation that must be understood above all else. First, let’s clearly define what meditation actually is, and what we are seeking to accomplish.
The goal of meditation, to put it simply, is to attain more Light. The seasoned spiritual seeker will immediately recognize here that “Light” is simply a label for consciousness. It is the seeking out of this consciousness that drives every human being. We seek these “highs” of consciousness through material gain, sexual gain, power, or even drugs – but all of these are external. What true meditation offers us is a practical, and repeatable way to experience these pleasures without seeking it from an external stimuli. It puts the person in a position where he has conscious control over the mechanisms that dictate his drive for pleasure.
There is a chemistry set within all of us, that if understood, allows us to be whole, complete, and in a state of constant bliss. So much so that it will put any earthly pleasure to shame. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you, so let’s begin to unlock it.
The 3 keys are thus:
1. The Breath 2. The Sexual Energy 3. The Mind
For those familiar with any of the valid esoteric paths (Kabbalah, Tao, Alchemy, Gnosticism), they will immediately recognize that these are the three Chakras/Sephirot of the middle pillar that must be brought to work together in unison and harmony. When these are aligned, an umbilical chord is created to the nectar and bliss of heaven. The Light of the Crown/Kether constantly pressures us to accept this bliss, our only task is creating a straw wide enough to allow its easy entry into the vessel.
Let’s start with the breath:
There are volumes and libraries on the matter of meditation and proper breathing, so let’s simplify this as much as possible within this short space. To put it plainly, the breath is the bridge between this realm and the upper realms. The breath is the very first duality that needs to be mended (in Malkuth or the Root Chakra). We have an in-breath and an out-breath. With every breath in, whether we are aware of this or not, we are “receiving” this Light. With every breath out, we are expelling or “bestowing” this Light. The interesting thing here is that while it is easy to be appreciative or mindful of the pleasure we receive from drinking water, or eating food, we tend to take the pleasure of breathing for granted. We ingest Light via air on such a consistent basis that we virtually ignore its importance. It is our constant companion, and it must be understood.
During meditation, if we can slowly become more aware of this pleasure, we can begin to realize that it is virtually endless. Becoming conscious of our breath constantly draws us back to center, and back to the present. Often times during meditation, the initiate will have a hard time “focusing” on something consistently enough to avoid the distracting thoughts of the monkey mind. The truth is that there is no need to look beyond the breath as a point of focus. If the initiate can be mindful of every single breath, he can begin to build a sort of “reference” point for his focus. Every time the mind runs away, it can be drawn back to the breath.
Doing this consistently enough will gradually increase the pleasure derived from breathing and offer an immense sense of tranquility and stilling of the mind from anxieties. Soon enough, interesting things begin to happen. There is a distinct “beam” or “rod” that begins to form within the middle pillar. This beam takes on a more solid quality, and every breath strengthens it. Every breath becomes like two hands clapping in the center of the chest, bringing an intense and laser-like focus to the heart and the present.
As a beginner, the tranquility and centered feeling will suffice. But for somebody seeking more from this practice, there is certainly no shortage of room to explore.
This is because the breath is the absolute key to achieving lucidity in dreams and entering higher and more subtle realms. Sleep is said to be the cousin of death, because they are alike in every way, except for one. This one difference is the breath. When we are asleep, our entire body is paralyzed (dead), except for one function – and that is breathing. This is why the breath is a bridge between the waking state and the sleeping state. If we slowly become aware of our breathing during sleep, we can slowly gain control of ourselves and our dreams.
As any lucid dreaming enthusiast can attest, the moment breathing is interrupted during sleep, lucidity is lost. Fear, sex, and anger are all culprits in making one lose control of their breathing in their sleep, just as it is in waking life. This does not have to be the case. All of these external stimuli are centered around the reptilian complex of the mind (the old serpent). Cursed to crawl on its belly and eat the dust of the ground, it’s food is adrenaline. The sure-fire path to controlling this serpent is to control the breath. This is because the breath has an interesting quality. It is both a conscious, and unconscious process. Virtually all other bodily functions controlled by the reptilian complex are wholly unconscious. You can not consciously stop your heart from beating, or the blood in your veins from pumping – but you can control your breath. If I were to tell you to take over the function of breathing, and breathe on your own, you would do it quite easily. But the moment you forget that this process is going on, it goes on automatically regardless of your awareness of it. This makes the breath the only process of the reptile brain that has dual ownership between you and the reptile complex. If you can commandeer and take over this unconscious process during sleep, you can begin to commandeer and take over sleep itself.
Let’s reiterate this in simple terms:
If I were to instruct you to take conscious control of your breath and breathe on your own, I am sure you would be able to do it quite easily, right? If however, I were to tell you to keep conscious awareness of your breath for hours on end, you would have a significantly harder time, would you not?
With a little savviness, you have probably deduced by now the importance of conscious breathing. For the average person, there is a process happening 24/7 within them that they have completely abandoned responsibility for.
Reclaim your breath, and you will (begin to) reclaim control of yourself.
– JC –
Read the 2nd of 3 articles in this series on Meditation – Sexual Energy & Meditation
Read the 3rd of 3 articles in this series on Meditation – (Coming Soon)