Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of November 13, 2017

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Inner Body Breathing

(Personal Unity: 4)

The air surrounding us contains a sea of precious spiritual energies, a fact attested to by most major spiritual traditions. In ordinary breathing, however, at most a tiny amount of these spiritual energies remain with us after we exhale.

In the practice of conscious or mindful breathing, one maintains awareness of the physical sensations associated with breathing. That can be a powerful means of staying centered and present. However, conscious breathing itself does not engage the energies in the air.

Intentional energy breathing enables us to draw the energy into us and have it stay with us, thereby fueling our spiritual inner work and strengthening our soul. In the practice of energy breathing, we direct our attention to the energies in the air we breathe, rather than simply to the physical sensations. We intentionally pull the energy from the air into us, infusing our body with that energy. We can cast our attention into the air, like an invisible net, intentionally capturing the energy when we draw the net back into us as we inhale. Alternatively, we can place our attention like a filter in our nostrils, intentionally releasing the energy from the air as it enters our nose.

The energy that we can breathe forms an inner atmosphere, the air of our inner world. We reach out, with our attention and intention, into this inner atmosphere and draw the energy into us with an inner breath, the hidden side of our ordinary breath. As we exhale, we keep our attention in our body, allowing the energy we drew from the inhalation to spread out and find its own place in us.

This practice does not require any significant alteration to our physical breath. It should not make us dizzy, nor cause us to breathe at an abnormally fast or slow speed. The difference between normal breathing and inner body breathing does not lie on the physical level, but rather on the level of the energy body. We breathe at a normal pace and depth. But we do so with fine attention to the air where it enters our nose, consciously inhaling the energy into our body.

As we work on becoming aware of this energy and breathing it, we discover an unmistakable and wonderful flow of energy from the air, strengthening our inner body. This energy flow is never automatic; each breath requires intention and attention to separate the energy from the ordinary air; it requires us to be there drawing the energy into us. Spending time every day on this energy breathing practice proves invaluable in filling us with sensation and establishing our energy body, the first body of the soul, giving us a sturdy vessel for presence and for deepening our path.

To enter this practice of energy breathing requires us to be unified. It requires unity of will, with our attention wholly focused on the energy in the air, and our intention wholly focused on extracting that energy from the air.

At first your attention and perceptions may not be refined enough to experience the energy in the air. In this case, use your imagination and practice as if shimmering particles of energy were entering you as you breathe. Allow the energy to spread throughout your body, joining the sensitive energy already present and strengthening your sensation. Work at this as part of your sitting meditation. If, after practicing energy breathing for some period each day for a week or two, you still find the energy flow elusive, please drop the exercise and consider returning to it again at another time.

But bear in mind the many spiritual traditions affirming the presence of soul-related energies in the air. If this is possible for other people, it is also possible for you. As your other spiritual practices and perceptions deepen, your ability to contact and absorb the energies from the air will grow apace. Then this vast reservoir of energies will be available to strengthen your inner life and make it more real.

For this week, please try energy breathing.

(Adapted from The Sacred Art of Soul Making, Second Edition)


     

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