There is a lot of talk in the spiritual community to achieve the experience of “oneness” and it has been proposed as one of the goals of meditation.
One of the first things you learn when you are taught meditation is breathing. Is breathing something you have to learn?
Well, yes the body seems to take care of that department by itself. At the same time, this is the precise reason why you can use it to deepen your presence. You become conscious of something that is profoundly present in your own organic reality, the constant breath of your body.
What is breath, why do you breathe? What is the body up to? And how can it actually connect you with presence, with oneness, with timelessness and limitlessness of being?
You are breathing to provide your body with oxygen. Oxygen is used in the constant breakdown of organic molecules inside our cells. The atmosphere is composed of approximately 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen and trace elements of other gases. There is a constant cycle of oxygen between beings on this planet. Oxygen is produced through photosynthesis, which I mentioned in an earlier post. We are breathing out carbondioxide , the plants inhale our carbondioxide to produce oxygen. Thus, there is a constant cycle of change in our bodies and exchange with our environment through our breathing. We have always a new set of oxygen molecules in our blood. Breathing puts us in organic connection with the biological context around us. But there is also a connection in breathing to timelessness and to places beyond the stars.
According to a group of scientists, volcanoes were not the source of the Earth's earliest atmosphere. They tested volcanic gases and came to the exciting conclusion that the atmosphere and oceans must have come from somewhere else, possibly from a late bombardment of gas and water rich materials similar to comets.
The scientists used new techniques to measure tiny quantities of the unreactive volcanic trace gases Krypton and Xenon, which revealed an isotopic 'fingerprint' matching that of meteorites which is different from that of 'solar' gases.
Thus these trace elements are present in our atmosphere and we breathe them. Breathing not just puts us in organic exchange with our present environment, we exchange atoms that came here millions of years ago from other stars. The meteorites might have originated on other planets and brought gas molecules from their hosts. Breathing sets us in contact with them on the organic level.
So it is not just a tool for deepening our presence here. We are unaware of the constant molecular exchange that goes on in the breathing and what wondrous net of events it connects us with. Breathing actually does what many people seek, it makes us limitless and connect us not just with this planet but with places way beyond. Suddenly breathing seems pretty amazing, right?
BTW there are several ways of breathing, in this post I focus on the aerobic type of breathing, common in humans, animals and some microbes and is defined by; breakdown of organic molecules in the presence or involving oxygen (O2).
There are several anaerobic types of breathing, where other elements have to accept electrons in the absence of oxygen, for example when we exercise. This takes place during fermentation processes.
Then we have the whole story of therapeutic breathing and yogic breathing exercises, so I might return to body chemistry and breathe at a later stage.