Breathing from the Breath Itself
Magnum Mysterium Spiritus
The Great Mystery of the Breath lies in these words, by Leonard Orr:
You can only learn to breathe from the breath itself.
Spiritus is one Latin word for breath, in which breathing and spirit are merged. This is the outcome of intuitive connected breathing.
I was in Glastonbury many years ago when I discovered Breathwork. My guides had said to me, “learn to breathe.” I thought this was rather strange, because I was breathing! I didn’t really get it, until I had a Rebirthing Breathwork session with Leonard Orr. I was being breathed, I didn’t actively breathe in air.
At the beginning of the session I was actively breathing, focussing my energy on the in-breath and struggling for survival. Until I began to surrender to trust, to trust the breath and then I breathed intuitively.
In a Rebirthing Breathwork session, letting go of the control of your mind is the first challenge. Once you start focussing on breathing, your mind thinks “oh I’ve got your attention now!” and a barrage of thoughts stream in. Being mindful of your thoughts is vital, and this is where breathwork overlaps with Buddhist mindfulness meditation practices. The aim is to quieten your mind, because thoughts take you out of the present moment. Experiencing the present moment is a crucial aspect of being breathed by the breath itself.
Your mind can be very tricky too, deceiving you into thinking you are breathing correctly. When you are breathing intuitively, you are not thinking you get into that space of mind-less-ness. Even when you think you’re doing well, the mind can’t help itself; “oh yes I’m in a smooth breathing rhythm.” It’s good to get feedback but you need to even drop that! Because surrendering and entering a space of mind-less-ness and pure experiencing is where the mystery of the breath reveals itself. Mind mastery is a vital component of letting go of control and experiencing greater freedom in a session.
You may experience physical or emotional resistances when you connect your breath. These resistances are the result of challenging life situations and they can feel incredibly intense. A Rebirther can guide you through it, but ultimately you are the one who breaks through this. From your very first breath you have imprints that interfered in your natural uninhibited ability to breathe. Consequently, on your journey of 10 sessions it is important to release your breathing mechanism and re-experience your first breath.
As the years go on, you still need to correct our breathing. Just because you had ten sessions, it doesn’t mean your breathing will always be relaxed and intuitive. You may continue to have challenges in your life, and this causes you to build up tension in your body or even get stuck in your own thinking or process.
I found that when I had a serious health issue, my inhalation was not strong. I had lost my life urge and enthusiasm to breathe life in to my body. I decided it was important to have 10 sessions again, and work on my breathing deviations and stuckness. I went back through experiencing struggle, just like in those early sessions. A Master Rebirther really knows how read you and to push you! This is why it is important for Rebirthers to continue getting rebirthed by a competent peer.
If you are choosing a Rebirther or Breathworker always ask them if they receive sessions themself. Humility is a core attitude for Rebirthers or Breathworkers to embody.
In psychotherapy the psychotherapist attunes with their client, and this creates therapeutic trust. Whereas, in Rebirthing the Rebirthee attunes with the breath itself. Trusting in the breath is crucial to breaking through resistance.
When you reach a space of no thoughts and no time, you become spacious and the breath enters your body easily and effortlessly. You become one with the breath. Perhaps, you may even discover the great mystery that the breath is a living being itself. However, the only way to really know this, is through experiencing it for yourself.
Finally, in understanding the great mystery of the breath, I’ll leave you with this to ponder over:
- do you take a breath?
- or do you receive a breath?
By Ciara Longman
Leonard and Ciara on top of Glastonbury Tor
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