Welcome back. Welcome to another great Mystery.
How are you progressing with the basic technique of witnessing your breath as it comes and goes? Isn’t it pleasant and calming? Do you find increasing peace of mind and harmony with others developing as you meditate a few minutes each day? Isn’t it interesting how inner peace affects your outer world, creating happier days at home and on the job?
Are you ready to continue your Ascent in the quest for spiritual awareness?
Now you will learn a great technique of meditation which is treasured by mystics their entire lives: The Mystic Breath. In time, your practice of this meditation will reveal to you what mystics seek to know and experience — Spirit, the Life Essence.
The Thread, The String, and the Rope
The classic illustration of the relationship between your breathing and your Life Essence is called, “The Thread, The String, and the Rope.” While it’s a strange story, it does make a profound point.
From time to time in the days of old, beautiful ladies were imprisoned in high castle towers by tyrants who, in those days, did not have the opportunity to receive psychoanalysis.
Young knights sought to rescue these ladies with hopes of eventual marriages and the acquiring of their own castles.
If you were a young and worthy knight, someone like Merlin the Magician would tell you how to rescue your particular damsel from her lofty prison.
Get a thread, a string, and a rope,” your mentor counsels. “Tie the thread to the string and the string to the rope. Now, here’s what you must do . . .”
Armed with courage and knowledge, you go forth to your lady’s tower. There you tie the free end of the thread to your arrow. Taking care with your marksmanship, you shoot the arrow through your lady’s window.
The fair damsel pulls the thread toward her until the thread brings the string to her. She then pulls on the string until she draws the attached rope up to her window balcony. Tieing the rope securely (and depending on her athletic ability versus yours), she shimmies down the castle tower into your arms. Or, if you’re the more courageous, you grasp the rope and scale the tower toward her, personally escorting her to freedom.
Either way, “the thread, string, and rope” enable the two of you to get together and live happily ever after.
If you’re wondering what could possibly be the point of this fairy tale, it is this: Your breath is like a thread which will bring you into an awareness of your life force. Your life force is like a string which will bring you into awareness of your individual essence. And your personal essence is like a rope which will bring you into the experience of the Infinite Spirit, the Universal Essence. By this rope you and your loved ones will find liberation from many sorrows and confinements.
Whether you enjoy this story from the point of view of a knight or a damsel, you will live a new life when you find the rope which connects you to the Infinite.
Yes, your subtle, quiet breath is a thread which is tied to your individual essence and thus the Infinite Essence, the vast Creative Consciousness — Spirit.
Spirit, the life essence, keeps your heart pumping and your breath moving. Your breath is sustained by spiritual dynamics. Even when you fall asleep, this higher power keeps your breath moving, keeps you alive while you’re oblivious.
So, mystics say, “This phenomenon of breathing is a good place to begin my quest toward realizing that which gives me life. Meditating on my breath, perhaps I can discover the life essence which animates me and then, in experiencing my own life essence, I can experience the Infinite Essence which bestows and sustains all life, the creative Power and Consciousness which creates everything.”
You have already begun to follow the thread of your breath to its source, the Infinite Essence. Let’s first review what we began in the Third Mystery. The following technique is based on the good work you started in Mystery 3.
The Mystic Breath Technique
As explained in the Third Mystery and the Third Key Points and Contemplation, mentally watch and feel the breath come in and out from the center of your upper lip.
When you become peaceful and easily engrossed on the breath in Level One, you are ready to enjoy the Mystic Breath in its fullness: meditation on the life force which moves the breath. This second level involves an ascent into mystical awareness.
This technique is subtle and personal. Each of us has our own natural way to experience the Mystic Breath. That is, our individual natures will require different windows — different energy centers — from which to view the life force.
Are you ready to find your window and become conscious of your life force?
Mystic Breath — Main Practice
Observing the cautions about, and preparations for, meditation as you normally do, spend two or three minutes practicing Level One: Mentally watch your breath flow in and out from the vantage point of your upper lip.
Please Note: In the previous Mystery I asked you to focus on the breath at the rims of your nostrils. But, now I ask you to adjust your focus a little bit — from your nostril rims to that central part of your upper lip just beneath your nostrils. Can you feel the breath passing in and out across your upper lip? Usually, it takes only a minute or two to make this adjustment. The reason for switching from your nostril rims to your upper lip is you will likely find it easier to locate and move to your “window” from your upper lip than from your nostril rims.
Now, allow your mind to move to its “window.” As you become peacefully absorbed in your meditation, your mind will want (or tend) to move to a different center of awareness — a window somewhere else in your body — from which it can most directly and easily focus on Essence, the Life Principle, and the Life Force. Your mind will naturally gravitate to the window which best suits your individuality.
If you like, I suggest you stop reading now and practice the Mystic Breath. Let your mind move to its chosen window and meditate there for a few minutes. In this way you’ll have a clear sense of your own window, without being influenced by the possibilities of all the other windows I’ll be mentioning next.
You simply watch your breath come and go from your personal center, your mystic window, instead of your upper lip. You let go your awareness of the breath on your upper lip and on the movement of your chest and abdomen. You place all your awareness on the movement of the breath which you feel in your personal window. This is the Mystic Breath!
Meditate on the Mystic Breath. When you come back, you may be happily surprised both by your window experience and in finding that your window is one of the main ones mystics have ascended through for thousands of years. Proceed!
Was that beautiful? Did you notice an even deeper calmness and pleasure in your meditation? Above all, where did your mind move to? What is its window, its mystic center?
Did your awareness move from your lip upward into your head? Or down, into your chest?
The Main Windows of the Mystic Breath
All of these windows are magnificent places to enjoy the Mystic Breath and — along with your progressive development — reveal both your life essence and the Infinite Essence. They are:
A — The Upper Spine
Most commonly, the Mystic Breath is experienced in the spine from your chest to your upper neck. You become aware of an energy or current which moves the breath, chest and abdomen. When the current moves up the spine you naturally inhale; when the current moves down you exhale.Definition (For some people this sequence is the reverse.) Mystics call this practice of the Mystic Breath spinal breathing; it is particularly energizing and rejuvenating.
The upper spine is a splendid window through which you can, in time, become conscious of your life energy and essence.
However, your mind may not wish to center in the spine at all. There are other fine windows from which to enjoy the Mystic Breath and view the life principle.
B — The Forehead
Your awareness of the breath on your upper lip (in Levels One and Two) gradually moves up your nostrils and happily becomes poised in the lower center of your forehead. This is a lovely place from which to now watch your breath move and, hopefully soon, recognize the life force which moves it.
C — The Top of the Back of the Neck
Many mystics practice the Breath here and realize the life force quickly. If your mind stays here naturally you are fortunate. It’s a well-placed window with a great view.
D — Inside the Spine – Back of the Heart
Inside your spine directly back of your heart is an ideal place for the Mystic Breath to dwell. Practicing the Breath here is also very harmonizing for the emotions.
Less common but also fine windows are:
E — Inside the Spine – Back of the Throat
Practicing the Mystic Breath here is particularly calming and unifying.
F — Inside the Spine – Back of the Navel
The Mystic Breath in the navel-spinal window usually moves on to a different window within weeks. However, meditating on the breath at this window often gives the added benefits of calming anxieties, instilling courage, and increasing one’s confidence.
G — Top of the Head
It’s very rare to naturally practice the Mystic Breath at this window. Beginners who meditate on the breath here often become absentminded and spacey. Advanced mystics, however, come to this window often in other forms of meditation. It’s not advisable for a beginner to practice the Breath at this center. It would be better to center in the forehead or stay on the upper lip (unless you are an advanced mystic).
H — The Front, Bottom of the Throat
This is a very rare but lovely center for the Mystic Breath to be practiced. After energy blissfully fills this area you usually find your awareness moves into the spine directly back of your throat.
Rather than coming to any of these windows, your mind may have chosen to practice the Breath from some other center inside or outside your body.
If this happened to you, practice the Mystic Breath there at your distinct location. Likely, you will find your uncommon centering is a necessary developmental transition. In time you will gravitate toward one of the listed windows and easily practice the Mystic Breath there.
These other windows are usually not windows at all but rather places where our energies are blocked or preoccupied. They need attention and release before our awareness can choose a more natural center. You will find that practice of the Mystic Breath in these unusual places will be very freeing and helpful.
To sum up, the Mystic Breath technique has two levels, with the second level being the main part of the technique:
- Mentally watch your breath come and go from the center of your upper lip.
- The main practice, the Mystic Breath itself: Let your mind move to its natural center — or “window” — and meditate on the flow of your breath there at that window.
This individual focus of your meditation is called a window because it is here, at this point of awareness, you will begin to glimpse and directly experience your life force and life essence.
When you experience the life principle, you’ve made an Ascent. You’ve had a mystical experience. You have begun the conscious relationship with the Infinite which is the delight of the mystic.
I will see you
At the window of my life.
I will meet you
At the door of my heart.
Breathing better than ever, I presume.
Aren’t these quotes great? I like this one too:
The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.
—J.M. Barrie, THE LITTLE MINISTER (1891)
I dearly hope that your life is what you want it to be. Or, if it is not, that you and the Infinite will make it so.
Shall we deliberate on the Key Points?
- Your breath is sustained by spiritual dynamics. Spirit, the life essence, keeps your heart pumping and your breath moving.
- Mystics meditate on the breath in order to discover the life essence which animates them.
- In practicing the Mystic Breath you allow your mind to move to its “window” — a place where you can more directly become conscious of the life force.
- In experiencing their own life essence, mystics also seek to realize the Infinite Essence which bestows and sustains all life.
- To practice the Mystic Breath you allow your mind to gravitate from the center of your upper lip to your individual spiritual center — or window. Here in this center you simply witness the comings and goings of your breath.
In time, sooner as much as later, you will become conscious of the life force which operates the breath, driving it into and out of your body.
Your breath is the key to the mystery of your life. The Mystic Breath is conscious use of that key.
Now, to our Contemplation.
Let’s contemplate on the breath, too.
Notice what happens when you breathe. It’s not just a nose that breathes. When you breathe, your chest moves, your abdomen moves. Heart, lungs, diaphragm, brain and nervous system are all deeply interested and involved in each breath, aren’t they?
To enter our contemplation, let’s start with the first level of Mystic Breath meditation. Let’s throw out the breath in a strong exhalation.
Now, as before, let’s watch and feel the breath as it moves across the center of our upper lips.
But, after a few minutes of peace-giving meditation, rather than moving our awareness to our individual windows, let’s direct our awareness to the parts of our body which move as we breathe — the chest and abdomen, particularly.
Let us appreciatively notice this beautiful movement of life within us. Let’s contemplate and muse about the beauty and miraculousness of this.
And then, let’s contemplate on the energy, power and wisdom which cause these movements of breath to happen.
Contemplation is often more fun than meditation at first. You can let your mind wander afar, speculate, and even get lost. But in meditation you can attune your awareness and get the answers to what you were wondering about in contemplation. But sometimes contemplations, too, can bring you into intimate contact with the Infinite.
Love your life!
See you soon.
What moves my breath?
The time has come for more questions. Have you some?