The breath of life: our greatest divine gift goes beyond science

The basic principle of Biodynamics is that within man, understood as body, mind and emotions in its entirety, there is a Life Force , called in Biodynamics ” Cranium Sacral, Breath of Life” , which manifests itself as a guide, engine and organizer of every living system.

In the body the Breath of Life (Qi, Ki, Chi, Prana, Energy) is expressed through the system of body fluids (in particular the fluids of the nervous system) in a movement expressed by subtle and slow rhythms (called primary) basis of other present (secondary) rhythms, such as heartbeat and lung breathing.

In the Biodynamic approach, the “healthy” functioning of the body as a whole is considered to be linked to a harmonious and balanced movement of bones, tissues and fluids guided by the Breath of Life and its rhythms.

“ Where the life-giving sap flows, worms will not eat live wood. 
If hinges are used every day, rust will not prevent a gate from opening. 
Movement gives health and life. Stagnation brings disease and death
 ”.

– Proverb of Traditional Chinese Medicine

The breath of Life manifests itself mainly in three different rhythms, also called the “three tides”, with a different frequency of movement:

  • Long tide slow breathing (ML) or external breathing
  • Average tide medium breathing (MM) or internal breathing
  • Fast Breathing Cranial Rhythmic Pulse (IRC)

Each rhythm includes and originates the next faster one. The action of the Tide is perceived as giving rise to two respiratory phases of movement within the human body, one inspiratory the other expiratory.

Genesis 2.7

“… then the Lord God molded man with soil dust and blew a breath of life into his nostrils and man became a living being.”

This passage contains three significant facts regarding the creation of man.

Cells, DNA, atoms, molecules, hydrogen, protons, neutrons or electrons did not create man. These are only substances that can make up the physical body. Divine force formed man.

The word formed is a translation of the Hebrew word yatsar , which means “to shape, to give shape, or to form.” It evokes the image of a potter with the intelligence and power necessary to shape his creation. God is the Potter Master who already had the image of man in mind and who possesses the power and intelligence to give life to that image.

Second, God blew His breath of life in man . Man is more than just “dust” or physical substance. Man has a spirit, a soul. We can depict it in this way: the body of Adam had just been formed by God with the dust of the Earth, a lifeless human body that was lying on the ground. Then God bent down and “blew” His “breath” into man’s nostrils. God is the Source of life. We see this life-giving breath again in John 20:22, when Jesus gives new life to His disciples.

Third, Genesis 2: 7 tells us that man has become a living soul. The word soul in Hebrew is nephesh, which means “an animated, breathing , conscious and living being.” Man became a living soul only when God blew his life in him.

The Hebrew word for spirit is ruach , which means “wind, breath, air, spirit.” God’s life is continuous; the immaterial part of man was designed to live eternally.

In John 20,19-22 it is written as follows: 
“On the evening of the first day of the week, while the doors of the place where the disciples were staying for fear of the Jews, Jesus came, he presented himself among them and said:” Peace be with you! … As the Father sent me, I also send you. ” Having said that, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” 

The death of Jesus vanishes hope in his disciples. But the resurrection and the breath of his presence gives them birth to new life. 
The breath of the soul in the presence of God is defined in the various religions “prayer” and “meditation”.

Language represents the link between breath and spiritual experience: in ancient Sanskrit ” atman ” means vital breath / breath / soul .

This term appears for the first time in Ṛgveda , the oldest collection of Vedic hymns (XX-XV century BC) where it indicates that the essence, the vital breath, of everything is identifiable in the Sun (Sūrya):

(Sanskrit) 
« citraṃ devānām ud agād anīkaṃ cakṣur mitrasya varuṇasyāgneḥ āprā dyāvāpṛthivī antarikṣaṃ sūrya ātmā jagatas tasthuṣaś ca »


(ENGLISH) 
« The bright face of the Gods has risen, the eye of Mithra, of Varuṇa, of Agni, has filled the sky with the earth and the air: the Sun (Sūrya) is the vital breath of what is animated and what is not animated ” 
(Ṛgveda I, 115,1)


It takes its meaning from various roots: an (breathe), at (go) va (blow).

In the apatapatha Brāhmaṇa, one of the prose commentaries of the Vedas probably composed in a period between the tenth century and the eighth century BC, this description as “essence” and “life-giving breath” proper to the Ṛgveda is interpreted as a unity , transcendent and immanent at the same time, of all cosmic Reality and in this sense an analogue of Brahman, the sacrificial formula that generates and maintains the Cosmos.

The subsequent reflections of the Āraṇyaka, with the importance given to the “self-consciousness” (prajñātman), and then of the Upaniṣad, around the VII-IV century BC, begin to outline the atman as an individual self distinct and yet inseparable from the universal self (Brahman).

In CS Lewis’ story The lion, ” The witch and the closet “, Aslan, the king of Narnia, encounters creatures transformed into stone statues. Breathe on them and turn again from insensitive stone blocks into warm-blooded sentient mammals. This is a good imaginary representation of how the real event must have been: man was numb and non-living and God breathed in his nostrils … thus he became a thinking and conscious creature.

The Hebrew word translated “creature” or “being” in this passage is the word for soul, which is nephesh . It means “an animated, breathing, conscious and living being”. We know from the passage that God created man and that his soul is part of that creation. When a man dies, his soul remains alive and returns to God where the Bible tells us that one day he will face judgment for “what he has done in the body, be it good or bad” (Hebrews 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5: 10).

Life begins with a “breath” – the first “cry” – and the rhythmic activity of the lung sustains it and accompanies it silently throughout its duration until the end, exhaling the last “breath”.

On the other hand the lung is the only organ to have its “debut” at birth because in the fetus, within the maternal uterus, the heart is already beating, the kidney drains, the liver metabolizes, while the lung has to wait childbirth to inaugurate with its first cry its “breath” so fundamental for life. This phenomenon is so true, so evident that all the ancient traditions have always associated the beginning and the perpetuation of life with the “breath”, with the “breath”.

This vital “breath” not only gives rise to man but maintains his existence: ” As long as there is a breath of life in me and the breath of God in my nostrils ” (Job 27.3);

” The spirit of God created me and the breath of the Almighty makes me live ” (Gb 33,4).

The word of the Lord “creates” when it is “pronounced” and the “breath” of His mouth keeps life. ” By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, by the breath of his mouth every host of them ” (Ps 33: 6).

Foto feita na hora do nascimento, no momento do parto.

This divine “breath” not only originates life but is identified with the “soul”, the most sublime part of man (from the Latin soul and connected with the Greek anemos, “breath”, “wind”). Therefore also the soul that – according to Christian thought, but also of many other spiritual traditions, cultures and religions – survives the physical death of the body with which it will meet only at the end of time is a “breath”, an anemos.

Biomedicine emphasizes the particularly important role of the respiratory function (therefore of the lung that governs it) which, together with the circulatory function (governed by the heart), allows the maintenance of existence. If the respiratory and cardiovascular functions are the foundation of daily life, they are even more so when the body is in critical condition. Resuscitation maneuvers to maintain life are primarily and mainly respiratory in the first phase and immediately after cardiocirculatory. The resuscitators teach us that they begin their rescue almost constantly with the patient’s intubation that allows to stabilize the respiratory function, to check immediately after the heart conditions and to support the beat and the circulation.

“ Remember to breathe. After all, it’s the secret of life. ” 
 Gregory Maguire

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