" The Breath – A Bridge That Links Man to God " by a Meditation Master
posted on 4 June 2011 | posted in Information
Much has been said about the breathing system and there is even the science of pranayam that speaks extensively on the secrets of the breathing system. Knowledge being infinite, the breathing system will perhaps never end revealing its secrets to vigilant and sincere seekers of Truth.
One of the many mysteries underlying our breath is that in reality, it is God who breathes through us. The incoming and outgoing movements are two poles of a deeper reality. Man is a body, a mind and a soul. The breath links the body and the mind. In the Bible it is said, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." It is this same Word that vibrates in the soul and passes through the mind as life-force to become the incoming and outgoing breath. The one and same life-current, which is the sound vibration or will-power, or still word-power and which vibrates in all particles of existence, has created the universe, as well as the mind and the body.
Some mystics have said that breath is an act of the mind; this is partly correct. It is true so far as the gross function of the breath is concerned. The highest truth is that it comes directly from God. Our soul is only a tiny part of the Supreme Soul in which the mind or our individuality rests. The same vibration is resounding in every particle of existence, and in man it is the incoming and outgoing breath. God is breathing through all particles, all plants, all animals and all planets, nay, even the universe has its breathing system
Therefore it is clear that breathing is performed neither by the body nor by the mind. When the breath stops in deep meditation, the mind too stops. But this concerns the incoming and outgoing system. Deep inside or on a very subtle plane it vibrates as a humming sound. That humming vibration pervades the whole of existence and is the vibratory realm of the Divine. Given that the Divine pervades everything, It is in the mind too and the small portion that pervades the mind is called soul. Hence man is essentially divine.
Strange and mysterious as this may seem, if one observes the movement of the breath, one will hear the sound 'Ham-so'. 'Ham" is produced when the breath is coming inward, and 'so" when it is released. Deep meditation has revealed the meaning of 'ham-so' which corresponds to 'Aham-So' in Sanskrit, meaning "I am That." Both expressions refer to one particular and non-separate aspect of God.
In the Bible, God says, "I AM" and in the Upanishads, He is referred to as 'Tat' which means 'That.' Now why 'That' and not 'This'? 'That" connotes the mystery aspect of Him, while "I AM" represents the eternal presence or now-consciousness. The Bible says that God breathes life into man. This means that the "I am That" state transforms Itself into the vibration of creative life-force, the Word or life-current and the mind to animate the body.
Furthermore, It also animates the whole of creation because the latter too has a body and a mind. The "I am That" or "Ham-so" mantra is being constantly expressed by the Lord as an invitation. to the inner or deepest layers of existence, but who cares to listen? In fact we are deaf, otherwise we would have heard the invitation, the humming of God's voice through all aspects of life: the chirping of birds, the sound of the wind, the breath and infinite other sounds. He is constantly chanting, "Ham-so, Ham-so."
'Anapan-sati', which is the observation of the movement of the breath, can lead us to the mind and from there to the soul, which is God Himself. Therefore the breath is not only the air that comes in and goes out, but also prana, life-force or God as energy. We can use it as a bridge to reach the cosmos in essence or to attain cosmic consciousness. He who has realised that it is God who breathes through him is indeed blessed; only he has surrendered to God body, mind, heart and soul.
"Ham-so, Ham-so - I am That, I am That. I am here, where do you seek? In temples, mosques and churches? I am your own soul. Oh mind! Turn your attention inside, stop wandering. Know Me first as a humming vibration, then as complete silence, for such is My eternal, unfathomable and mysterious nature. Hence transcend sorrow." To follow the breath, one need not believe in any god, nor perform any ritual. One simply has to know the art of following one's incoming and outgoing breath. The technique of anapan-sati should be learnt from an adept or a master. Ham-so.